A dementia diagnosis can be devastating for the whole family, especially for the person who is living with one or more of the conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia.
While you, unfortunately, cannot take the condition away from them, there are many ways you can support them both now and in the future. Find out how to care for a parent living with dementia.
Learn About Their Condition
Your first step should be to learn more about their diagnosed condition. Understanding dementia will help you to prepare for the changes in their needs and abilities, so you can easily adapt to provide them with the highest standard of care. While it is never easy to watch your parent’s health decline, good knowledge of the condition can prepare you for the worst and help you to focus on improving your mum or dad’s quality of life.
Use Memory Aids to Support Their Independence
Memory aids can be effective during the early stages, as it could help your parent to remember where items are around the home. For example, you could add images onto cupboard doors, so they can easily find crockery, cutlery or bread. It is an effective way to trigger their lapse in memory, so it can help them to retain some level of independence within their home.
Maintain Their Hobbies and Interests
A dementia diagnosis does not mean a parent’s life has to end. It is your job to help them maintain their hobbies. For example, if they love to get their hands dirty in the backyard, allow them to indulge in a spot of gardening, which will help them to exercise and embrace their passion. Slow down the rate of the condition by keeping their mind stimulated.
Create a Safer Home
Many people living with dementia might experience impaired coordination or balance, which can lead to falls within their home. Problems with balance and walking can happen both during the early and later stages of dementia, so it is important to create a safe space for your loved one.
For example, remove any rugs that could be a trip hazard, create clear pathways in every room, and free the property from clutter. It might also be beneficial to choose a personal care alarm or panic button system from Helpline, who can immediately respond to your parent in an emergency situation.
Provide Your Parent with a Healthy Diet
Every person living with dementia must enjoy a nutritious diet, which can help them to stay fit and healthy, which can provide them with a better quality of life. If they fail to enjoy a healthy diet or consume unhealthy foods, for example, they might become vulnerable to other illnesses, which can potentially increase confusion.
In addition to providing your parent with healthy meals, they might need you to place their cutlery in their hands. Eventually, you may need to physically feed them. If they have difficulty eating, discuss the issue with their doctor to find an appropriate solution, such as adjusting their medication.