How To Help Your Elderly Relatives Get Through Dementia
Helping your loved ones as they get older is no easy task. Not only is it distressing for you, but it can also be extremely frightening for them – the idea of getting sick with a condition like dementia and gradually losing your independence and dignity is a huge fear for a lot of people. Here are some ways that you can help your loved ones to find dignity and grace after a diagnosis of dementia…
Help Them To Live Safely
First and foremost, it’s important to make sure that your loved one is living in safety. Even if you only live five minutes away, you need to be aware that it still may not be a safe living environment for someone who is living with dementia – which, as you know, will only get worse over time. Start looking around for a senior citizen living care facility nearby that is financially feasible for your family.
You should also make sure that you don’t feel guilty about finding a residential home for your loved one to live in – you need to live your own life, you can’t look after them constantly, and a lot of residential homes are a lot nicer than you might expect. Your loved one will be able to socialize with other people with similar interests and live as independently as possible while still being safe.
Make Sure You Take Breaks
If you are a carer for someone with dementia, this is no easy task. No matter how much you love them, it can be a physically wearing thing to do – people with dementia often wake up in the middle of the night and can get very distressed easily, which in turn might be upsetting for you. Seeing a loved one in the grips of an illness like dementia can be very unsettling – and of course, it can also be frightening for them as well.
It’s important to make sure that you find somewhere who can offer respite care, particularly if your loved one is living with you. If you have siblings, talk to them and ensure that the responsibility for caring for an elderly parent, both physically and financially, is spread out fairly between all of you. The sole responsibility of caring for someone with dementia can be hard so it’s important to make sure that you stay healthy and happy.
Speak To Them Thoughtfully
Finally, although it might be frustrating talking to someone who repeats questions and doesn’t have much of a short-term memory, remembers: it will get easier. Finding a new relationship with them will take time. It can be hard to see one of your parents as someone that you have to look after rather than vice versa, but it’s important to get past the caring role and remember that essentially they are still the same person that they always were.
They might have new interests that they find easier to manage now – you can encourage those. Bring things to talk about with you when you visit your loved ones like family photographs, history books, and art books. The fact that they might not recall what they had for breakfast doesn’t mean they don’t have interesting and valuable opinions.
Dementia especially when our loved elderly relatives go through it is so painful for them and us. I hope these tips help.