If your aging parent has recently been diagnosed with dementia, you might not be sure what happens next or what to expect. Here are a few things to keep in mind as everyone involved moves forward.
Look for the Signs
People often mistake the signs of dementia for senility or old age, but there are certain distinctions that make it easier to identify. For example, if your parent makes up stories or is easily confused and disoriented, these may be warning signs. Other signs to look for include difficulty sleeping, fluctuations in mood and personality, and general forgetfulness about ordinary or routine practices. Although you may suspect your parent is experiencing dementia, it’s important to get a proper diagnosis from a physician before you can discuss treatment options. From there, your parent’s doctor can determine possible causes of the dementia and whether it can be treated.
Remember Dementia Is a Symptom
Although most would consider providing care for a parent with dementia to be a rewarding responsibility, it can be challenging at times. During those times, there are some important things to remember. First, dementia is merely symptomatic of a bigger problem. Much like a cough is a symptom of a cold, the neurological problems associated with dementia are signs of a deeper issue. The list of ailments that cause dementia are extensive. Dementia can be the result of a stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, or any number or debilitating illnesses. The important thing is to make sure you get your parent tested by a doctor to rule out any of those possibilities. From there, steps can be taken to treat your parent’s dementia.
Consider All Treatment Options
While many people immediately associate dementia with Alzheimer’s disease, it isn’t necessarily an irreversible ailment. Although the root cause of your loved one’s dementia may not be curable, there may still be options available for your parent in terms of slowing or easing his or her symptoms. Fortunately, there have been recent breakthroughs in pharmaceuticals that aid in the slowing or regression of dementia symptoms. There are of course other clinical methods to treat dementia, such as visiting a neurologist, psychiatrist, or geriatrician, in addition to holistic options, such as yoga, meditation, and vitamins.
Be the Guiding Hand
As the child of a parent with dementia, it’s important for you to remember that the various obstacles you’ll face simply come with the territory. Despite these challenges, you must understand love and support are your primary tools to guide your parent through this challenging time in his or her life. You have the opportunity to provide what medical assistance cannot: love, encouragement, and reassurance. Rest comfortably in the knowledge that you’re the ultimate medicine because you know your loved one best of all, and that’s most certainly a strategic advantage.
Caring for a loved one with dementia is a challenging task for anyone. The responsibilities can sometimes feel overwhelming, but help is available. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Harrisburg at-home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care is here to help. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (717) 540-4663.