What to do if your parent is showing signs of dementia?
The first thing you need to know is that there are different types of dementia. You must learn as much about each type as possible before determining which type of dementia your loved one is suffering from. However, you must also focus on solutions and problems, rather than focusing on the symptoms of dementia.
When someone with dementia is in denial, they often will not answer questions. They will often talk in riddles and use odd language. This happens because when the person is not thinking, they can't process information properly. Ask them questions, such as, "What are you thinking?" Or "Is there anything else you would like to say?"
If your parent with signs of dementia is having trouble communicating, you must take action to assist them so they will be able to speak. One way to help them is to give them tasks to do, such as: Write their name; Tell a joke; Organize a list of things; Repeat a message; Draw a picture; Play games; or anything else you can think of that requires their full attention. Remember, your parent will eventually lose control of their mental abilities and you must do what you can to maintain what they have. Be patient, compassionate, and focused.
Another thing you need to focus on if your parent is showing signs of dementia is understanding their cognitive process. When their brains are not functioning properly, they may resort to anti-social behaviors, such as lying, cheating, hiding, and avoiding you. If they are unable to talk, become agitated, have trouble making decisions, or seem to be avoiding you, it's time to get help. You must find out what is happening in their lives if they are engaging in these behaviors.
If your parent with signs of dementia wants to hide something from you, such as a secret, it could be dangerous for you. You must find out what is going on in their lives and take action if they are dangerous. Your actions must be planned properly, so you can get help as is necessary.
The sooner you get help, the better. Once you begin to see what is happening in their lives, you must make a plan to get them help.
YOU must take action. A parent with dementia or the beginning signs of it will often deny that it is happening. Few are able to seek out and get the help they need for themselves. The help that they need comes from someone that is trained in helping them deal with the symptoms of their illness. Be sure that you and your parent have this conversation before any medication or treatment begins. If you and your parent are open and honest with one another, then a solutions or compensations or remediation can be reached.
You need to begin early with a specialized team of care giving professionals. These experts know all the answers to 'what to do if your parent who is showing signs of dementia.' There are many medications that you can administer for your parent, and there are therapies that will greatly improve the quality of your parent's life. The early intervention that is done is critical to the effectiveness of any treatment.
Once you and your loved one are aware of the options available to you, your world will become less frightening and your journey through what to do if your parent with dementia becomes much easier.
Steve Schafer is the founder of TheEulogyWriters and is probably the most prolific eulogy writer (and, no doubt, the best) anywhere. He lives in Michigan and has been writing eulogies for well over thirty years. The articles in this blog are designed to help people through the process of losing loved ones.