Caring for Parents Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Dementia

November 15, 2017

At one point in your life you may have to face with the unfortunate fact that your parent or parents are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. A lot of kids who are already successful and fulfilled adults decide to take the caring upon themselves, at home. Of course, it’s essential to be prepared and fully aware of the sad truth that the parent’s behavior and functionality are going to change with time. Forgetfulness of various degrees, inability to perform some simple tasks as well as mood swings and wandering around are some of the common behavioral patterns for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. Therefore, it’s paramount that the caregivers know how to deal with these changes so that they can actually help their parents without losing themselves to sadness. It’s heartbreaking that there’s no perfect strategy you can use in these cases, but the following tips can help ease the caregiving process.

Established daily routine is essential

A proper schedule will be helpful for both you and your parent(s). In general, a person diagnosed with one of these diseases will usually have a period during the day when they feel calmer and more relaxed. It’s up to you to notice these behavioral patterns and arrange the most of the daily activities then. These can be doctor visits, bathing, eating, walking, and anything else that has to take part during your regular days but your parent(s) find it hard to deal with. It’s also true that their mood will fluctuate on certain days, but this is precisely why you need a good schedule. Even if you have to adjust something to the different situation, you’ll still know what has to be done, and your loved ones will also notice the familiarity of it all, which can reduce the overall stress.

Professional help

If your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you should be prepared that at one point they will be in constant need of looking after. Even though you may not want to accept this at first, professional help in this case may be necessary and the best option for both you and your parent(s). After all, in-home caregivers that assist you with daily tasks and activities can make this whole ordeal calmer and less stressful. Don’t try too hard to deal with all of this yourself when the emotional aspect is concerned either. There are caregiver support groups you can consult and confide in. Members of these groups can also offer you very useful, first-hand pieces of advice that can turn out extremely valuable for your particular situation.

Proper communication is a must

Not only do you need to properly communicate with your parent(s) but with their doctor as well. First things first; if you’re not sure about their diagnosis, feel free to ask “the question” What is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s? You need to know exactly what you’re dealing with in order to help your loved ones and yourself. Also, share everyday experiences with the doctor constantly. Moreover, don’t fear the talks you need to have with your parent(s). They need to understand what’s happening from the very beginning. However, never treat them as a child or talk down on them. This is far from good approach, even though it’s recommended that you use simpler and shorter sentences. When you talk, dedicate yourself to the act of communication thoroughly. Cut any possible distractions and background noises. Also, try to keep a positive attitude that your parent(s) can recognize.

Deal with the costs

No matter how unpleasant it may be to think about the costs that come with the caring for someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, this can be a serious issue. Therefore, it’s paramount that you utilize every possibility that may help you minimize the expenses. For example, you can check out your parent’s insurance coverage, social security or retirement benefits. There are also special government programs that may take away some of the financial burden. Tax deductions could also be a possibility so make sure to research every option available. In the end, your last resort should involve tackling into private assets such as savings, pension and even reverse mortgage. Just like you need a plan for your everyday routine, you also need to take the time to create an effective budget plan to try and reduce money-related stress as much as possible.

It’s best that you accept the fact that this is no one’s fault. Also, your parents diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia don’t want to behave the way they do. You have to arm yourself with patience as well as calm and reassuring behavior yourself, if you want to avoid even more difficult situations. There’s no need to rush things. Look for everyday cues that will help you organize your family better and remove anything possibly dangerous from their immediate surroundings.


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