Caring for a Parent with Dementia

Friday, December 8, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

During the month of February, we are reminded that “love is in the air”. This can be bittersweet, as one of the hardest things is watching someone you love forget that they love you. Often families share they are challenged by the ever-present feeling of not doing enough or the right things in the right timing. Here are a few practical ideas:  

Get Organized: Create a caregiving book…this will include copies of photo identification, insurance and social security cards and a list of emergency contacts. Legal document copies such as a Durable Medical Power of Attorney, General Power of Attorney and Living Will should be included. Medical information to include: a list of doctors, specialty, address and phone number; history, medication dosage, routine and information on each will make life easier.

Create Less Risk: While it may not be possible to protect your loved one from all injury, it is possible to create a safer environment. Minimizing fall risk is a priority and removing objects that could harm a loved one, for example, knives, car keys and matches can help.

Label and Provide Cues: The need to explain everyday things and routines will be ever present. Using a white board, photos and labeling objects can minimize frustration. Posting a picture of the night clothes or socks on the drawer where they reside may help your love one locate when needed.

Limit Choices: When stress increases as choices are presented you can simply say, “Time to eat, here is your food” or “Put on these clothes, I will help you”. Understanding what is possible to do independently and what requires assistance is a delicate and changing balance. Helping before needed supports loss of independence. Finding that fine line between needing encouragement and causing frustration is the goal.

Remember it’s the Disease, not the Person: It is healing to forgive both your loved one and yourself for the full range of emotions that are normal. It is not unusual for there to be moments of perfect sense and more appropriate responses. You are not imagining things, rather you have been given a moment to treasure.


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