According to statistics, more than 55 million people worldwide suffer from dementia.
Is your parent showing symptoms of dementia? Or maybe they have been battling the condition for a while?
Either way, coping with a parent with dementia can be tough at the best of times. Not only do everyday tasks become challenging, but dementia can be very difficult to deal with emotionally, both for them and for you.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to smooth the way. Keep reading to find out some tips for how to deal with dementia.
1. Find the Right Dementia Care
One of the first things you can do if you have a parent with dementia is to look into dementia care and residence facilities.
Parents with dementia can’t be left to fend for themselves. Even if they can manage it right now, dementia is a degenerative disease that gets progressively worse.
The timeline can differ between people, but so far there is no known cure. The best thing you can do is ensure your parent has the care, support, and stimulation they need.
Caring for a parent at home can be highly taxing and place extra emotional strain on both you and them.
Look for a facility that specializes in looking after people with dementia and offers high-quality memory care.
2. Help Them Get Their Affairs in Order
Another important task is to help them get their affairs in order. This may not be an easy task, especially if they’re prone to being uncooperative.
Try to get your parent to create a durable power of attorney and set up stop orders for bills they might forget to pay.
Coping with dementia is hard enough without having to deal with issues like their electricity being cut off because they forgot to pay their bill.
3. Practice Patience
One of the most vital tips for dealing with this situation is practicing patience.
Adopting a patient attitude will reassure them and help keep them from becoming agitated. If you can practice patience, this will also save you emotional turmoil and help preserve your mental health.
It’s very easy to get frustrated with a parent with dementia. After your initial frustration, this usually leaves you feeling guilty because they can’t be blamed for their lack of memory.
While it’s important to be patient, also remember that nobody is perfect. It’s 100% natural to feel frustrated with a dementia patient at times, and you also need to forgive yourself if it’s hard to maintain a calm approach.
4. Be Gentle With Yourself
Coping with a parent with dementia can take a big emotional toll.
Not only do you have to deal with the day-to-day complexities of memory loss, but you might also feel like you’re watching the parent you know slip away from you.
Dementia can rob you of the person you love little by little, and cause you to experience progressive stages of grief.
Some of the ways you can support yourself are by taking time out to decompress and practicing self-compassion.
Coping With a Parent With Dementia Is Not Easy
Although there are some steps you can take to manage things, coping with a parent with dementia is almost never easy.
It is emotionally tough and can send you spiraling into stages of grief that you only expected to experience once your parent has passed on. Remember that you’re not alone and that you are only human.
If you are looking for more helpful reads, browse the health section of the blog.