There are many health risks associated with aging. Some of the most common health issues that affect older people include hearing loss, cataracts, back pain, diabetes and dementia. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the development and negative impact of these conditions. In this article we will cover practical measures you can take if your parent is showing signs of dementia.
1. Document and share dementia-related behaviors with a doctor
Elderly ones may feel ashamed of their reduced cognitive abilities and may choose to hide them. As a result, it is very important to spend time observing your elderly parent so that you can get a good idea of what is affecting him or her. Although the early signs of dementia can be very subtle, they are noticeable. If you recognize that your parent is experiencing memory loss, having difficulty concentrating, struggling to follow conversations, and finding it hard to carry out routine tasks remember to write these symptoms down and talk to your parent’s doctor about them.
2. Keep learning about dementia
One of the most important steps you can take to help your parent reduce the likelihood of developing dementia is to learn about it yourself. Educate yourself on what dementia is, how it is treated, how to spot it in your loved ones, and how to manage the symptoms. You can then use this information to help your parent take preventative actions such as eating a healthier diet, getting more physical exercise, and regularly participating in activities that stimulate cognitive function. The more informed you are about dementia, the better your decisions to help your parent manage the condition will be.
3. Find appropriate help
If your parent has been recently diagnosed with dementia, then it is time to take additional steps to help him or her. While there is currently no cure for dementia, working with a mental health professional can help. Research the mental health centers in your area and ask if there are any treatment programs specifically designed to assist people with dementia. You may also reach out to memory care facilities like Cedar Creek who provide assisted living services for individuals with dementia and other memory issues.
4. Keep your parent’s spirits up
Helping your parent to keep a positive attitude is a crucial part of coping with dementia. Try to motivate your parent to be cooperative during the treatment process and be patient as he or she tries to overcome any setbacks. When your parent sees how supportive you are and how much you care, he or she will be encouraged to stick with your chosen care program.
Living with dementia is not easy. However, your determination to learn about the condition and provide continued support can do much to improve your parent’s quality of life. Remember to treat your parent with the love, patience, respect, and appreciation he or she deserves. When feelings of frustration surface, you may find it helpful to reflect on all that your parent has done in the past to help you.
Of course, there are many challenges associated with caregiving, so don’t be surprised if you feel worn down from time to time. It is strongly recommended that you take available opportunities to relax and refresh yourself when possible. When you are in good health, you are better able to provide effective ongoing care for your parent. And if you ever feel overwhelmed by your caregiving responsibilities, don’t forget that you can always talk to a friend you trust or find a licensed therapist in your area.