- Educate yourself
- Stay organized
- Be patient
- Practice self-care
- Know when to seek help
There are services available if you want to or need to take on the responsibility of being your parent’s primary caregiver but still need help every so often. Respite care can be a great option if you need a temporary break. But a community offering memory care services may be the best option if your parent needs more assistance than you can provide in the future.
What Is Dementia?
Dementia is a progressive brain disorder that affects memory, thinking, behavior, and the ability to perform daily activities. It’s a broad term that covers a group of symptoms associated with cognitive decline. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for about 60-80% of cases.
Other types of dementia include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, mixed dementia, and Parkinson’s disease dementia. Dementia affects people differently, based on the cause, age of onset, and the part of the brain that’s affected.
Cause of Dementia
The causes of dementia are complex and not fully understood. Many factors contribute to dementia, including genetics, lifestyle, and environment. Age is the biggest risk factor for developing dementia.
Other risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, diabetes, and a history of head injuries. While there is no cure for dementia, some causes can be treated or mitigated, such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes.
Symptoms of Dementia
The symptoms of dementia vary depending on the stage and type of dementia. Early signs of dementia include memory loss, difficulty concentrating, language problems, and mood swings. As dementia progresses, symptoms worsen and can include hallucinations, delusions, incontinence, and the inability to manage daily activities. While some people may have a slow decline, others can experience rapid deterioration. It’s essential to seek medical care if you notice any signs of dementia, or if your loved ones capabilities change suddenly.
Caring for a Parent with Dementia
Caring for a loved one who is dealing with a condition like dementia can be difficult, especially without proper experience and training. But you’ll likely be off to a great start if you keep a few things in mind.
One of the best ways you can prepare for caring for a parent with dementia is by educating yourself. This means researching the disease, its common symptoms, and the various stages. Knowing what to expect in each stage can help you better handle any challenges that come your way. There are many resources available online or in books that can offer valuable insights into dementia.
When caring for a parent with dementia, things can get chaotic quickly. That’s why it’s important to stay organized. Keep a calendar of appointments, medications, and other important information so that everything is in one central place. Make sure to communicate with other family members and/or healthcare providers to ensure that everyone involved is on the same page.
Caring for a loved one with dementia requires immense patience. Remember that the disease can affect their behavior, which may include aggression or agitation. Try to put yourself in their shoes and approach them with kindness and understanding. Take a few deep breaths before responding to a challenging situation, and find ways to diffuse the situation calmly.
Seek Help When Needed
The job of caring for a parent with dementia can be overwhelming, and it’s important to recognize when you need help. This could mean hiring a caregiver to assist with some of the responsibilities or joining a support group to connect with others in a similar situation. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, as it can make all the difference in your emotional and mental well-being.
Another option that can assist when needed is respite care. There are various forms ranging from adult daycare to temporary stays in a senior community. Respite care is essentially short-term care of an older adult that gives their primary caregiver a break.
Last but not least, it’s vital to practice self-care when caring for a parent with dementia. This could include getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, taking breaks, and doing things that you enjoy. Being a caregiver can take a toll on your mental and physical health, so it’s important to take care of yourself as well.
Know When It’s Time to Seek Permanent Assistance
It’s a beautiful act of love to care for a parent who is dealing with the effects of dementia in their life. But it can become overwhelming for an adult child to shoulder the responsibility alone. So, there may come a time when one must explore other options.
Memory care is a service that exists to ensure that seniors with cognitive issues, such as dementia, receive the care that they need to live happy and healthy into their golden years. Communities that offer memory care typically have specially trained staff and offer accommodations with a focus on safety for those with dementia.Contact us at Fox Trail Memory Care in Mahwah if you’re considering communities for your loved one. Our compassionate team is happy to give you a tour and show you what life is like in a Fox Trail community.