3 Tips For Helping A Parent With Dementia

A parent with dementia will require more assistance with daily living tasks as the disease progresses. Simple tasks, such as showering, can become more challenging and might require more finesse on your part. Here are some ways you can help your parent get through the day with as minimal stress to him or her as possible. 

Prioritize Tasks

As your parent's cognitive functioning decreases, every day tasks do not have the same importance as they once did. Attempting to get your parent to stick to his or her daily routine can be frustrating to him or her and you. However, it is easier to determine which tasks are most important and focus on those. 

Start the prioritizing by listing all of the things that your parent needs to do on a daily basis, such as taking medication and bathing. After you have your list, start ranking the tasks. Use your judgment to determine which tasks need to be done daily and which can be spaced throughout the week. 

For instance, taking medication is considered a daily task. However, bathing might not be. If your parent becomes extremely agitated or combative when bathing, limiting the activity to once every couple of days might be best. 

Give Yourself Time

It is important to remember that how quickly your parent once completed tasks is unimportant. What you need to focus on is how long it takes your parent now. You have to keep in mind that tasks, such as brushing your parent's teeth, can take longer now since he or she might be hesitant to do so and it might take some coaxing from you. 

Be realistic in how much time you allow for each task. If you are pushing your parent to get a task done in a limited time, you could trigger a negative reaction from him or her. You also only contribute to your own stress. If your parent finishes a task earlier than expected, you can move onto the next one on your list. 

Know When It Is Time for Help

At some point, you might have to realistically assess whether or not you can continue to care for your parent. If helping him or her through daily living tasks becomes to strenuous on you and your parent, an assisted living facility might be the best option. 

At a facility, your parent can receive the support he or she needs from professionals who are trained in assisting people with dementia. The facility can adjust its level of care offered to meet your parent's condition as his or her dementia progresses.