When you were a child, your parents spent a lot of time and money taking good care of you. So if you’re able to do it, you should repay the favor as your parents get older and make sure you take good care of them.

But this is often easier said than done when you’re dealing with dementia in a parent. There are almost 6 million Americans living with dementia at the moment, and if your parent is one of them, you know how difficult it can be to provide them with the care they need.

During the early stages of dementia, you might not have too much trouble setting your parent up with the necessary care. But as their dementia progresses and starts to take a toll on their memory, it’s going to become harder and harder for you to do it.

Here is a guide that will help you when it comes to dealing with dementia in a parent

Begin by Learning as Much as You Can About Dementia

When you first discover that your parent has been diagnosed with dementia, you should take the time to learn as much as you can about it. Those who have never had to worry about dealing with dementia in a parent don’t usually know what to expect in the coming weeks, months, and years.

There are all kinds of great resources out there for people who are interested in educating themselves about dementia. Take advantage of these resources and use them to find out everything you can about this debilitating disease.

Work on Developing the Skills You’ll Need to Care for a Parent With Dementia

There is a long list of skills you’re going to need if you’re planning on caring for a parent with dementia. In a perfect world, you’ll already have all of these skills, which will make it easy for you to put them into practice.

But if you don’t have these skills, you’ll need to work hard to develop them over time. Some of the skills that you’ll need are:

  • Patience
  • Reliability
  • Creativity
  • Endurance

It’s great to have all of these skills to some degree. But patience is, by far, the most important skill that you’ll need to have as far as dealing with dementia in a parent is concerned. If you aren’t able to be patient with your parent, you’re going to have a long road ahead of you.

Do Your Best to Keep Your Interactions With Your Parent Positive

If your parent is still in one of the earlier stages of dementia, it won’t be too tough for you to stay positive when you’re interacting with them. Outside of a few moments here and there, they will likely continue to talk and act like themselves despite their dementia.

But as your parent’s dementia begins to get worse, there are going to be days when you won’t even recognize the person they’ve become. You’ll struggle to hold a conversation with them, and in some cases, they might not even know who you are when you talk to them.

It won’t be easy to stay positive when dealing with dementia in a parent. But you should muster up as much strength and energy as you can to do it.

Being positive will make your interactions with your parent more pleasant for you. It might also help your parent to work their way through tougher periods of time.

Figure Out the Right Ways to Communicate With Your Parent

Over the course of your life, you’ve probably gotten into the habit of communicating with your parent in a certain way. You might continue to try and communicate with them in that same way when they’re diagnosed with dementia, but it won’t always work out for you.

People who have dementia sometimes struggle to keep up with a conversation when they’re talking to someone else. If you throw too much information at them or ask them too many questions at one time, they’ll get confused and not know how to respond to you.

Rather than doing these things, keep any questions or comments that you direct at your parent short and sweet. This will help them to understand what you’re saying better and allow them to provide the right response to you with minimal confusion.

Use Your Eyes, Ears, and Heart to Anticipate Your Parent’s Needs

When your parent is dealing with dementia, it’s not always going to be easy for them to express their needs to you. There are also going to be times when they’ll struggle to let you know how they’re feeling.

It’ll be up to you to anticipate your parent’s needs and to gauge how they’re feeling by using your eyes, your ears, and, most importantly, your heart. If something seems off with your parent, don’t be afraid to do some digging to see what might be wrong.

Find Ways to Make Daily Activities More Manageable for Your Parent

Your parent has eaten breakfast, gotten dressed, and done other daily activities thousands of times throughout their life. But dementia can rob them of their ability to take on these types of tasks with ease.

This can frustrate them to no end. In some instances, they might even get very nasty with you when they’re having a hard time tackling one of these tasks.

Find ways to make your parent’s daily activities more manageable. Break them down into bite-sized steps that will help them complete the tasks without getting overwhelmed.

Give Yourself a Break Every Now and Then by Calling on a Professional Caregiver

As you’re going to find out pretty quickly, dealing with dementia in a parent is exhausting. It’s imperative that you take good care of yourself to avoid burning out.

Look for a company that specializes in providing eldercare in your area for those with dementia. They can step in and take care of your parent when you need a break. These breaks will be essential if you’re going to continue to offer your parent the best care possible.

Dealing With Dementia in a Parent Might Be the Hardest Thing You Ever Do

There is nothing easy about dealing with dementia in a parent. No matter how prepared you think you are to do it, it’ll prove to be one of the biggest challenges you ever face.

But by keeping the tips mentioned here in mind, you can help a parent with dementia day in and day out. You can also take care of yourself so that you don’t suffer any health complications as a result of your parent’s dementia diagnosis.

Read more about dealing with someone who has dementia by checking out the articles on our blog.

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