How to Care for Loved Ones Living with Dementia

by | Oct 29, 2021 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

When you have a parent who is reaching their senior years, one of the health dangers you have to watch for is dementia. The symptoms of dementia can be minor or insignificant in the beginning, but, as the condition progresses, the symptoms will become more severe. Knowing how to care for a parent with dementia is something you’ll have to learn about through experience and research.

Determine How You’ll Care For Your Loved One

There are plenty of choices for your loved one’s future care once they have been diagnosed with dementia. As soon as you begin to suspect your senior parent is developing dementia, you should consider whether you’ll care for them at home or relocate them into a facility that offers enhanced assisted living in Westchester NY. Either choice has its pros and cons, so you’ll have to decide what’s best for your family. Many families start by caring for a loved one with dementia at home while setting up the option of assisted living for a later time when extra care is needed. If this is the route you would like to take, you should help your senior parent pick out an assisted living community that appeals to them. Keeping them involved in the decision can make it easier when the time comes to make that move.

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Diet

All seniors should be given a healthy diet that consists primarily of plant-based foods, but this becomes especially important for seniors with dementia. The vitamins and nutrients in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds will be used by the brain to protect cognitive functioning against further degeneration. A healthier diet will slow down the progression of the disease just as an unhealthy diet can cause dementia to worsen much faster. In particular, leafy greens and other foods rich in B vitamins help guard against depression and protect cognitive functioning. You should also look for foods high in antioxidants since these compounds combat the free radicals that can damage brain cells.

Make the Home Safe

Whether your senior parent is living with you or staying in their own home, you will have to adjust the environment to make it safer for them. This will include lowering shelves to make them more accessible for your loved one. You should also add more railings throughout the home and increase lighting. A standing bath or shower may be needed to help your parent bathe themselves without the increased risk of a slip and fall. Locks should be added to drawers and cabinets that contain cleaning chemicals, medication, and other potentially toxic substances. A forgetful senior may mistake a cleaning agent for cough medicine, or they may accidentally take too many doses of medication.

Create a Consistent Schedule

The key components to protecting cognitive functioning in someone with dementia are repetition and familiarity. For this reason, you should create a consistent schedule that you can follow with your senior parent every day. This should include Saturdays and Sundays as well as weekdays because your parent will come to rely on this schedule. The schedule you create should revolve around medication times to ensure important doses aren’t missed. Start each day by waking up your parent at the same time and helping them through their hygiene practices. Once they’re ready for the day, ensure they eat a good breakfast. The rest of the day can combine both structured and spontaneous activities as long as certain daily routines, such as eating lunch at the same, are maintained.

Keep Your Loved One Involved

In planning for your loved one’s care, avoid making decisions without their input. When you need to make an appointment for them to see a doctor or therapist, verify the date with them. This will encourage them to continue using their critical thinking regularly, while also helping them feel as though they have control over their life. Ask them questions throughout the day, such as what they want for dinner and what activities they would like to try. A greater amount of involvement will keep your loved ones interested in their care and happiness.

It’s also important to take time for yourself. As much as you love your senior parent, you have to look after yourself as well. Sometimes, you may just need a day or two away from those responsibilities. As your parent’s condition worsens, you may have to consider alternatives for their care. In that situation, assisted living may be the ideal choice for everyone involved.

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