What to Do When Your Parents Get Dementia
It is never easy to watch your parents get old. In our minds, parents are giants who will always be at their peak of strength and energy. Just as your parents will always see you as their child, you will always remember them as the people who held you when you were little, taught you your first skills, encouraged you on your first victories, and helped you launch as a young adult.
As the years pass, however, each person experiences old age in their own way. Unfortunately for many, dementia is a common symptom of aging. But the mental changes associated with dementia are unique to each person. However, once you realize that one of your parents is no longer able to mentally rely on themselves, it’s important to plan carefully for what happens next, including finding the right assisted living community.
What can you do when your parents get dementia? Fortunately, you have options and organizations ready to offer the support you and your parent may need.
Learn About Dementia
The first step is to research dementia, especially if your parent has been diagnosed with a specific type of dementia with identifiable symptoms and phases. Dementia can be simultaneously frustrating and frightening for family members. It’s okay to feel upset. It’s difficult to see your strong, capable parent lose their mental clarity. However, as life phases change, it’s up to you to take the responsible role now.
A big part of that is understanding why your parent may act the way they do or say the things they say. Knowing the symptoms of your parent’s dementia can also help you separate how you feel about the situation compared to what your parent can’t control.
Increase the Safety of Your Parent’s Environment
Safety should be your top priority. While your parent is still at home, leaving them alone in the house can become dangerous. Depending on the progress and symptoms of their dementia, they may forget or lose track at a critical moment, like walking or cooking a meal. This can increase the risk of injury or worse.
Make efforts to secure your parent’s living environment, including:
● Clearing up clutter
● Creating clear walkways
● Preparing easy and safe meals
If your parent has medicine they must take every day, you may want to set up reminders. Alternatively, visit daily and make sure that they have remembered to take the medication.
Be Patient and Loving
It is normal to have many strong emotions in response to your parent having dementia. However, the most important thing is to be patient and loving while your parent struggles with mental clarity and continuity. Whether your parent gets confused or even insistent about something that is not currently true, patience is the best way to get through these difficult moments.
Consider a Home-Like Assisted Living Community
Over time, the best care for seniors with dementia is a senior living facility with a memory care unit. However, it is very important to choose a place that is home-like and comforting. Seniors with dementia can become upset and confused in an environment that is too much like a hospital and not enough like the home environments they are familiar with.
This is why great homes for the elderly are often smaller in size and decorated in a cozy, homey way. The more personalized your parent’s room can be, the better. They will feel comfortable when surrounded by their favorite things and family photos.
Caring for Your Parent With Silverbell Homestead
Silverbell Homestead is an assisted living community near Asheville, NC. Our ranch-house style layout, welcoming gardens and public rooms, and dedication to creating a fulfilling lifestyle for our residents are what sets us apart. We value our small staff-to-resident ratio. We also work hard to provide residents with a joyful and enriching experience full of good company, good food, and daily refreshing activities.
Of course, while our assisted living community is already a cozy ranch house for seniors, our excellent staff are also trained in senior medical care and memory care. Your parent can achieve their maximum independence while safe, happy, and surrounded by familiar, comforting spaces.
If you’re not sure what to do after discovering your parent has dementia, we can help. Contact Silverbell Homestead to ask questions or even book a tour. We are always glad to help loved ones see that their parent can have an enjoyable future after a dementia diagnosis.