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Caring For Elderly Parent With Dementia


Anyone can find themselves looking for ways how to help a parent with dementia. No person expects to have a mother or father who suffers from the condition. Yet people can turn into caregivers because of it. The situation entails lapses in memory and judgment. Often it comes with confusion too. Still, it’s progressive which means it worsens as time goes by. The only option to address it involves providing supportive measures. Usually, there’s a focus on comfort and safety. So knowing some ways to care during this difficult time is useful and matters.


This state that often happens in the elderly also makes it hard for people to talk and take care of themselves. Giving love and support to a suffering parent makes a big difference, though. In that way, he or she may still experience having a quality life. In this post, we’ll give further information about the ailment. Also included are tips to help a parent live well despite having the said disability.


Understanding Dementia


Before anything, it would be best to think about what it is and why it happens. In a nutshell, people describe the disorder as something that causes a brain problem. To be specific, because of it, a person suffering from it finds it hard to think, recall, and reason well. This often further results in poor emotional control and mood alterations. Hence, it’s what gets in the way of daily affairs.

how to help a parent with dementia

It’s sensible why people take an interest in how to help a parent with dementia. There’s no telling when exactly it happens. Some young people have it. In a lot of cases, though, it occurs in seniors. Stubborn elderly parents dementia affected is even more common. Yet the possible reasons why it arises aren’t clear. From what science discovered, several factors likely cause it. Sad to say, there are no treatments that can make it go away or bring back things to how they used to be. At least, some measures are there to treat or slow down the symptoms. Thus it’s a syndrome that caregivers oftentimes deal with through supportive actions.


Changes That Occur In People With Dementia


Depending on the possible cause, the symptoms of sufferers differ. Yet there are common manifestations that happen due to neurodegeneration. These are often the ones that determine how to help a parent with dementia.


Indicators Of Cognitive Decline


  • Forgetfulness that other people usually identify
  • Struggling with conversations
  • Having trouble with visual, motor, spatial, problem-solving, and organization abilities
  • Remarkable confusion


Alterations In Perception and Thought


  • Character changes
  • Persistent sadness
  • Constant worrying
  • Unsuitable conduct
  • Delusions
  • Uneasiness


Caring for elderly parent with dementia may be unique and challenging with these. Yet there’s no reason to back away from taking care of a person who suffers from it. After all, once you identify these symptoms, it’s easier to know what to do next.


Stages and Types of Dementia


Knowing the different phases and forms of the condition is very important. The whole thing is part of how to help a parent with dementia. After all, the care needed depends on the nature of the issue. Hence, figure out what’s wrong first and what remedy there is that’s best to address the problem. Appropriate interventions reduce if not avoid mistakes in caring for a dementia patient. They could provide relief, slow down the progression, and find a cure to the symptoms of the ailment. So try to learn about the levels and kinds of the syndrome first.


Types Based On The Causes


A crucial step in how to help a parent with dementia involves going over the specifics. It means learning about the diseases associated with the irreversible ailment. Even if there’s no sure way to prevent them all, at least there are helpful things in dealing with dementia. Thus keep reading to know better the things that usually and likely produce dementia.


Alzheimer’s Disease


This causes memory loss, thought problems, behavioral issues, and other mental challenges. More than half of those who have the condition have it because of this illness. When this neurologic disorder occurs, the entire brain shrinks, and its cells begin to die. It starts as something mild and then usually proceeds to various disabilities. Such includes being unable to communicate right and react to the surroundings.


Vascular Dementia


This one involves the cerebral blood vessels. Stroke or other problems that cause a disturbance of blood flow to the brain may result in this issue. Such may even bring about damage to portions of the brain, especially the white matter. This makes people forget things, hard to think, and have unusual behaviors. It usually becomes challenging for sufferers to do their usual or even very simple tasks. In some cases, stubborn elderly parents dementia made happened because of this.


Lewy Body Dementia


Although this disease often doesn’t affect memory much, it still needs attention. After all, knowing how to help a parent with dementia relates to it. This involves having abnormal protein deposits in the brain. Such causes behavioral, emotional state, and thought problems. It usually begins fast and then slows down while dementia progresses. Hence, it’s very different. There must be a doctor present to get this diagnosed.


Frontotemporal Dementia


This also concerns having protein stores inside of the brain. The deposits create damage to the frontal and temporal neurons of the brain. This produces cellular dysfunctions which result in abnormal responses and functional difficulties. Loss of speech could be one of its symptoms. Because of its nature, it needs attention. In that sense, caring for elderly parent with dementia is very much necessary.




In classifying dementia phases, a lot of people use the Global Deterioration Scale or GDS. It isn’t that useful for describing conditions that don’t involve memory loss, though. Yet it relates a lot to Alzheimer’s Disease or degenerative dementia. So caregivers keep using it.


This post shares some of the points written on the GDS or Reisberg Scale. It’s the basis for the stages since it helped many determine dementia status. The reason for its shortening is only to simplify its lengthiness. It’s to make how to help a parent with dementia easier. Written below are the descriptions of the stages, from mild to severe.


Mild Mental Decay


During this period, a person becomes somehow forgetful of names, words, and objects. Loved ones see a decrease in mental capacity, and functionality. This lasts for about 2 years or so.


Moderate Cognitive Decline


Often occurring for 1 year and a half or 2 years, the mild symptoms worsen. This time, it’s not only about having a hard time concentrating and performing tasks. There is already a noticeable significant impact on a person’s daily life. That is to say, an individual may need help doing activities of daily living during this time. He or she may need aid in remembering and being aware of people, time, places, and other things. Often, this is when many begin to think about caring for elderly parent with dementia. It’s that or they look for caregivers to provide companionship and support.


Severe Dementia


Noticeable marks of cognitive decline are already around. People at this stage, especially seniors, find it impossible to carry out activities. Hence, they are already dependent on caregivers. They experience persistent disorientation, hallucinations, delusions, and anxiousness. A lot of them may not be able to speak and do anything on their own anymore. So, even before the condition becomes serious, it pays to know how to help a parent with dementia.


Ways How To Help A Parent With Dementia


As said, caring for elderly parent with dementia involves knowing what is wrong first. That would be to figure out the most appropriate set of actions to take. Yet, many times, the care techniques for the various kinds and phases of the affliction are quite the same. It’s because they all involve cognitive decline. Plus, the symptoms of this disability are somehow similar. So, in this guide, we’ll cover tips that apply to most if not all forms of dementia.


Stubborn elderly parents dementia affected usually have specific aspects of their lives changed. These include their communication, behavior, actions, and nutrition. Below are the ways to address them right.


Talking To Someone With Dementia


Communicating well with an old father or mother is how to help a parent with dementia. It requires setting a good mood, getting the person’s attention, and using simple words. Make sure that your phrases and sentences are audible or at least try mouthing. Show love and trustworthiness during conversations too. Do that by caring for and respecting the things that matter to them, even when most of them relate to the past. Thus you may have to spend some time when taking care of them to help them right.


Address Their Behaviors And Actions


Take note that parents suffering from dementia are likely unable to change anymore. Their actions may be the result of chemical and structural changes within their body. They behave in certain ways to express themselves or as a response to stimuli. Yet it doesn’t mean that people should stop them from doing what they please. Having a bit of control over their activities matters. That’s because it’s how to help a parent with dementia manage life better. Find out if they need medicine to help them with their conduct by consulting a doctor. Be accommodating, flexible, and patient with their actions.

confused and disoriented elderly

Their wandering and being emotional usually get them in trouble. For safety, allow them to wander and express themselves in confined areas. But place them only where it is relaxing and there are signs for guidance plus barriers to keep them safe. When dementia progresses, incontinence happens too. For this one, let them wear diapers or at least put them near toilets. These are great strategies to act on mobility and bowel control issues. What’s important is that you don’t ignore these problems and do something about them. Thus, a caregiver may need to make adjustments when taking care of old folks with dementia.


Help Them With Their Nutrition


Ensuring the intake of nutritious foods and having a healthy diet is how to help a parent with dementia too. This means controlling their intake so they get tasty food with enough nutrients. Plus, caring for elderly parent with dementia this way helps tackle other concerns. For instance, such helps in having better dental hygiene, weight, and bowel movement. It even helps in managing appetite, and schedule of medications. Hence, taking part in an old parent’s food choices and preparation helps a lot.


To aid stubborn elderly parents dementia damaged, eating with them is very helpful. This ensures that they have the right kind and amount of food and chew right for digestion. Have specific times for full meals and snacks to create routines. Include fruits and vegetables for vitamins, minerals, and essential fats when eating. That is to improve brain health. Yet have plenty of macronutrients to support the body well too. Still use lightweight eating utensils and cut food into small pieces too. Such things can aid in addressing limb weaknesses and eating problems. Yet, since dementia involves cognitive decline, supervise a senior with it when eating. Keep the person mindful that he or she is taking in food to avoid choking and other problems too.


Techniques In Caring For Elderly Parent With Dementia


If you don’t know how to help a parent with dementia, it can be hard. With the right methods, the workload can be lighter. Being systematic when assisting an elderly parent manage dementia helps a lot. Not only does it give convenience but also maintains safety. That is for the person with dementia and the caregiver. So, when there are stubborn elderly parents dementia afflicted, try the things below.

assisted living with dementia

Practical Care Methods


  • Establish routines. This is in doing activities of daily living. Such creates useful habits to make tasks easier to remember, understand, and perform.
  • Have things to do on notes and calendars. Help the parent who can’t remember well to recall things better by making lists. Creating many short ones is the way to go.
  • Set reminders for activities. This goes for creating and maintaining habits. It’s most useful in tasks like taking medications.
  • Allow a parent with dementia to have some independence. After all, sufferers need to keep their brains active to slow brain degeneration.
  • Use items that provide convenience and safety. Go for those with fewer details and the ones safe to handle. This applies to the furniture and appliances plus eating and cooking utensils.
  • Be patient yet take some time off. As a caregiver, you must remain calm and collected when taking care of a person with dementia. Yet the pressure and exhaustion can be overbearing sometimes. Thus it pays to take a break from time to time.


Helpful Products For Dementia


Due to the behavioral and other changes that come with the condition, sufferers need help. They need aid to live with comfort, less physical or emotional pain, and some independence. Thus some things to help deal with their discomfort, pains, and limitations could help a lot. Take note that, despite their situation, they still deserve to have dignity. Besides, it becomes less challenging for a caregiver to manage tasks with them around.


Though there are many products for dementia patients, there are a few that are more useful. Below are examples of the things described.


Items For Noise Reduction


One of the useful strategies how to help a parent with dementia is to use these things. Too many sounds or much noise around causes irritation and hearing loss. In a way, such things may bring about sensory overload in the elderly and those with dementia. So it is quite helpful in sound dampening. Examples are earplugs, earmuffs, noise-canceling headphones, and acoustic foam panels. They can help to avoid and even face auditory triggers.




Playthings have great roles in handling dementia. They are tools that aid in anxiety reduction, achieving calmness, and feeling comfortable. Still, with how they are, they allow for some healthy brain stimulation. After all, activities that involve touching keep people preoccupied. So it’s sensible to have a few of these around to use in caring for elderly parent with dementia.


For visual stimulation and keeping the hands busy, fidget toys are pretty useful. They can work to distract old folks from wandering and doing other risky activities. Jigsaw puzzles and other interesting toys help with providing an engaging activity. All these are great for those with mild or moderate dementia.


Things For Semi-Dependent Living


Providing these is how to help a parent with dementia feel a bit of autonomy. With independence, a person feels that he or she can get achievements and has a sense of purpose. An individual often feels better when he or she can perform self-help measures or aid others. In that way, there’s getting a sense of gratitude for making an impact on the world around.


Instead of helping in everything, allow those with dementia to do several things. By themselves, they won’t always get in trouble anyway. Giving colored, lightweight, and visible food utensils helps a lot in eating alone. Letting an old person use a personal alarm system gives the chance to call for help only when needed. Object locators or beeping trackers aid in locating things and managing memory loss. Still, installing signs at home for independent navigation indoors works too. These things are even useful for stubborn elderly parents dementia made. So investing in them is worth it.


On A Final Note


If your mom or dad has the condition, look for how to help a parent with dementia as soon as possible. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, stuck, and unsure, find what can ease things for you and your loved one. It’s an irreversible ailment that impacts the brain and the way that it functions. Despite that, things don’t have to be so difficult for you and the affected person. After all, many care measures are supportive of dementia sufferers. So it’s only up to you to decide which to try and when to test them.


In a nutshell, figure out the onset, progress, and nature of dementia and then take action. Help a sufferer manage daily living but allow for some independent functioning. You can get a professional and invest in things to get help. Hence, things to ease burdens are available.


We hope that this post covered plenty of concerns you might have in looking after a parent with dementia. The situation entails long-term or lifelong care intervention but all hope isn’t lost. With fortitude, love, and consideration, success becomes achievable. If you have any questions, please send us a message or comment. Thanks for reading.


Read More


Five Tips For Connecting With Someone Living With Dementia


Useful Gifts For Elderly Parents


How To Care For Elderly Parents With Dementia


Best Tips For Managing Effects Of Dementia On The Family


Types Of Dementia In Elderly, It’s Not Always Alzheimer’s


Make A Care Plan For Dementia: 10 Questions To Ask Your Doctor

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