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Caring For An Older Parent Or Relative With Dementia

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

Providing care for an aging parent or relative with dementia can be a challenging journey, logistically and emotionally. As a Geriatric Care Management team, we work with many families where an elderly person may choose to age in place, at home, even with the complications that come with their mental state, and depending on the severity of their condition, it can be made possible with the right supports. As a family caregiver, it’s crucial to take care of yourself first and avoid burnout by balancing your own time, responsibilities, and well-being with your role as a caretaker. For this reason, we always recommend enlisting outside help if possible as a professional Geriatric Care Manager can assess the older adult’s condition and recommend valuable resources that can save you time, money, and effort, and make care more manageable.

To help point you in the right direction, we have put together a list of tips for providing better care to a loved one with dementia right at home.

o Assess their needs for basic care and decide on what you can reasonably provide.

Learn from the pros: the first thing a quality geriatric care management company will do when called in to help care for an elderly person is to assess their capacity to perform activities crucial to daily living regularly. This includes their ability to feed themselves, take care of their hygiene, keep a livable home environment, dress themselves, attend important appointments, and remember to take their medication. Depending on how much daily or weekly assistance they require, you can make a chore schedule to help provide basic care yourself, with the help of siblings or other relatives, or with outside help (such as cleaners, meal prep services, and other service providers).

o Ensure they live in a safe environment.

Take some time to observe your older relative’s behaviors and find any red flags that may need to be addressed in the home accordingly. For many people with dementia, it’s crucial to keep a clutter-free home where things can easily be accessed. Clear tripping hazards and create systems where they can more easily find items. If wandering is a concern, some people opt to install motion-activated cameras at the exit door to notify them when the person leaves.

o Learn more about their condition:

Understanding the symptoms, as well as the likely progression of an elderly loved one’s condition can help immensely with learning to better cater to any new needs that may arise. A more in-depth knowledge of the intricacies of dementia symptoms can also help navigate some of the emotional complexity around it and ease your frustration around communicating. For example, it’s essential to learn about the importance of keeping communications simple and instructions easy to follow, avoiding unnecessary correcting, and more.

o Help them create routines.

While dementia is mostly characterized by forms of forgetfulness, habits and routines tend to work relatively well in keeping seniors on track when it comes to eating their meals, bathing, or going to bed. Having a solid routine helps them go through their days with more purpose and can be supplemented with reminders and systems for checks and balances when needed.

o Don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

Whether you find support within your family, community, medical facility, or geriatric care provider, there is no shame in looking for additional resources.

Our team at Senior Steps provides virtual and in-person consultations and we are always available for a FREE call to see how we can help you or a family member. Click on the link below to schedule a call today:

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