It can be devastating to learn that one of your parents has dementia. This is doubly so if they’re the only one you have left. Dementia can be managed, but at the moment, there’s no cure. This means that you’ll need to step up your efforts and become a carer—or at least find the right care home that can provide the support your loved one needs while maintaining their sense of self and freedom.
It’s certainly not easy, but with this guide, you’ll know how to care for a loved one with dementia without burning yourself out.
1. Get Professional Guidance
When you care for a parent living with dementia, it is important to seek professional guidance from healthcare providers who specialize in dementia care. They can provide you with valuable advice on how to manage the condition, what you need to do, what to watch out for, and so on. Don’t go into the situation blind. You—and your parent—should be on board with the same care plan and strategy from the get-go.
2. Establish a Routine
People living with dementia often benefit from having a structured routine. Establishing a routine can help your loved one feel more comfortable and secure, and it can also help you manage your caregiving responsibilities. Try to establish regular meal times, bedtimes, and activities to help your loved one feel more secure and supported.
3. Get Support from Professional Carers or Respite Workers
Caring for an aging parent who is living with dementia can be a full-time job, and it can be challenging to manage all of the responsibilities on your own. While it’s laudable that you’re taking on many of those care responsibilities on your own, remember—you do have options. It is important to seek support from professional carers or respite workers who can provide you with a break from your caregiving responsibilities.
4. Find a Specialist Care Home
If you are unable to provide the level of care that your loved one requires, you may need to consider finding a specialist care home for them. Specialist care homes can provide your loved one with the level of care that they need alongside around-the-clock support. Even if your loved one has complex medical issues, specialist nurses will be there for them 24/7. Care homes such as the one at stpetersbury.com offer everything your parent would need—a great living environment, nutritious and delicious meals, regular activities, and access to healthcare if and when they need it. Before making any decision, however, it’s important to visit the care home in question. You should also choose the best option nearest to you, so you can continue to spend time with your loved one.
5. Don’t Forget to Look After Yourself
Caring for an aging parent living with dementia can be emotionally and physically exhausting, which is why it’s so important to take care of yourself as well. Make sure to take breaks when you need them, and try to find ways to manage your stress and stay positive. Engage in activities that you enjoy, such as hobbies or exercise, and seek support from family, friends, or support groups when you need it. Support groups, in particular, can be a huge source of strength when it comes to dealing with the physical, emotional, and mental strain that comes with being a carer.