Caring for someone with dementia can be very challenging for a family caregiver, especially a parent. Being a family caregiver is a stressful role, and it can be hard to watch a loved one decline from dementia.
The good news is that you don’t have to go it alone. Based on our experience, these four tips from AmeriCare Plus of Virginia will help make things go a bit smoother as you care for your loved one with dementia.
Tip #1: Research and Prepare
Doing your homework and researching dementia will give you knowledge in three key areas:
- Dealing with dementia in a parent
- Talking to a parent with dementia
- How to care for an elderly parent with dementia at home
There are many great resources available to help you with your research: books, articles, online videos, classes, support groups, and others around you who are caring for a parent with dementia.
While you’re researching dementia and all of its aspects, you need to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally. Take some time to re-visit the past and write out some fond memories of your parent. Think about the person they were and some of the things in their life that they enjoyed. This will help remind you of who your loved one was as they start to have a shift in personality.
Tip #2: Make Home Adjustments
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in four adults falls every year; and people with dementia are prone to falling. You can make their living space safer by making some adjustments:
- Replace or remove worn carpet or rugs
- Clean up clutter, like piles of laundry, bundles of old magazines and newspapers, etc.
- Make sure stairs are in good condition, well lit, and have no-slip strips
- Install or secure handrails on stairways
- Install grab bars by the toilet and in the shower, and invest in a shower chair
- Establish two times the normal level of lighting in the home
The goal is to make your parent’s living space as clear, clean, and maneuverable as possible. You may need to make further adjustments as their dementia progresses, but fall prevention and lighting are good places to start.
Tip #3: Monitor Physical Changes
Although we tend to think of dementia as purely a mental disorder, it can also affect a senior’s physical condition. You’ll want to monitor your loved one’s motor function and their ability to:
- Dress or bathe
- Eat or drink
- Use the toilet by themselves
- Form thoughts and converse
- Perform simple household chores
As their physical condition decreases, the need for care increases. It’s a sign that they might need more advanced supervision.
Tip #4: Practice Good Self-Care
The primary family caregiver of a parent with dementia is at risk of becoming burned out or exhausted. This isn’t good for your health, and it diminishes the level of care you provide for your parent.
Some simple things you can do to take care of yourself are:
- Get other family members involved in caregiving. Don’t go it alone.
- Schedule regular time off and enjoy it with your spouse or a friend
- Make time to exercise at least three times per week
Using respite care is also another helpful option. A professional caregiver can step in and provide a few hours of care each week, giving you some time off to refresh and recharge your battery.
Tip #5: Seek Full-Time Care
As dementia progresses, the time and effort spent caring for your parent will increase considerably. Because dementia patients often wander during the nighttime hours, 24-hour live-in care could become a viable alternative for you. A professional caregiver will take care of their activities of daily living, giving you more personal time with your loved one.
The dementia caregivers at AmeriCare Plus provide the finest home care for parents and other family members with dementia. They consider each client’s home environment and individual needs as they provide dementia care with compassion and respect.
Contact us today to schedule your free in-home assessment. We’ve been providing the highest quality of care in Virginia for over 25 years, and we’d love to be of assistance to your family. Call (844) 407-CARE today or complete this form.