Three Tips When Helping a Parent Who Has Dementia

If you are finding it difficult to adapt to and visit a loved one who has any form of dementia (Alzheimer’s, multi-infarct, vascular, lewy-body, and Parkinson’s) here are three tips that helped me to manage through my visit, while helping my loved ones navigate the changes happening around them:

1) Always smile and patiently answer questions. I realized that the emotion of the moment was more of a factor in any interaction with my mom. I would take a deep breath, smile, and answer the question. You can use some simple tactics to redirect the questions by suggesting a new activity (walk, snack break, craft) or excuse yourself for a few minutes (go wash your hands, empty the dishwasher).

2) Don’t say “Remember.” Unfortunately, short-term memory is usually the first to go so recognize that they can’t remember, and reminding them of it may only increase their anxiety and suspicion of you.

3) Explaining only created more confusion. I instituted a rule to tell my parents what was happening once and let them ask questions. Because they didn’t recall the incidents or issues that occurred, explaining details just created more arguments than tranquil moments.

I worked very hard to be respectful, recognize their dignity, and need for independence. As the dementia progresses, your loved ones may be unable to understand or recognize what is changing. I hope these tips help you navigate your next visit. Shared.

I am reposting this video and topic for those of you just starting on this journey. I hope these tips will help you. 

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