Giving Care: Senior & Disabled Caregiver Resource Blog

Caring for a Parent with Dementia at Home

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As more of the population ages, more and more people find themselves as informal caregivers to caring for aging parents who have Alzheimer’s Disease and memory loss. Not only does caring for dementia patients at home keep them comfortable, home care is more affordable for families as well. However, caring for a dementia patient at home is a big commitment and should not be undertaken lightly. Discover how a dementia diagnosis will progress and then learn our top 10 tips for caring for a parent with dementia at home.

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Understanding Alzheimer’s

If you choose to in-home care for a loved one with dementia, then you first need to understand what Alzheimer’s is and how it will progress. Early stage Alzheimer’s is quite mild and, in many cases, your loved one will be able to continue living on their own without home health care or major assistance. They may forget recent events, have difficulty with numbers or trouble making a grocery list and struggle to plan events or maintain a calendar.In middle stage (or moderate) Alzheimer’s, the dementia symptoms become more pronounced. Memory loss and the accompanying confusion increases. Your loved one may have trouble with everyday tasks, such as paying bills, getting dressed or attending to personal hygiene. This is why many patients begin needing care providers at this stage. They may also have outbursts that involve cursing, kicking and/or screaming. Episodes where they become restless and wander around will become more common.

In severe or late stage Alzheimer’s, people need 24/7 around the clock care. They may have trouble sitting up or walking without assistance, as well as trouble eating or swallowing. You may notice major changes in your loved one’s personality.

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Silverts’s Tips: Caring for a Patient with Dementia at Home

In-home Safety Measures

  1. Inspect your home for possible hazards such as rugs that can be tripped on or tools that can be misused. Make sure all of these items are securely stored away so that your loved one cannot access them.
  2. Pay special attention to appliances in the kitchen — in particular, the stove. Try taking off the knobs or installing appliances that shut off automatically to prevent them from turning on the stove while you aren’t there. Store small appliances such as toasters and food processors far out of reach.
  3. Keep bathroom cleaners and chemicals locked away so that your loved one cannot get to it. Add grab bars and sticky mats to prevent falls. If you don’t already have a walk-in tub or shower, then consider installing one.
  4. Regularly inspect your home’s fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure that they are all functioning properly.
  5. Keep a list of emergency contacts posted somewhere easy to access in case of an accident or emergency. Continually consult with your loved one’s physicians as their disease progresses and their care needs continue to evolve.
  6. Make sure that rooms and hallways are well-lit. Install nightlights so that your loved one will not trip if they get up in the middle of the night.

Uphold a Healthy Lifestyle & Routine

  1. Maintain a daily personal care routine, with consistency in their meals, bathing, and dressing schedules. 
  2. Aid them without removing their autonomy – encourage them to make to-do lists, keep them informed on each care measure you plan to carry out and set up medication reminders for them to adhere to. 
  3. Allow them as much freedom as possible without compromising safety. When aiding with dressing or bathing, allow them to do as much as they physically can. Make this easier with Silverts’s adaptive clothing options for easier dressing. 
  4. Plan safe activities that cater to your parents’ interests and encourage them to join – dementia patients aren’t always likely to take the initiative when it comes to planning and carrying out recreational activities, but are more likely to participate when it is facilitated by you or another caregiver. 
  5. Encourage light, age and condition-appropriate exercise routines or daily walks. 
  6. Stock the home with healthy, simple food and meal choices. Allow them to make choices when it comes to food, facilitating a healthy diet without sacrificing their autonomy. 
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Consistently Work On Communication

  1. Communication often becomes increasingly difficult for patients due to dementia symptoms like memory loss and decreased language skills – combat this with a healthy mix of dialogue and back-and-forth conversations, communication-heavy activities, and interspersed quiet hours. 
  2. Keep important keepsakes, books, photographs, and memorabilia around the house to make them feel at home and indirectly combat the memory loss that is triggering their communication decline. 
  3. Validate their expressions of fear, anger, and frustration with calm and understanding language. Avoid emphasis on the fact that they are suffering from memory loss – instead, work on memory care by reinforming and reminding them without indicating their decline. 

Seek and Accept Additional Assistance

  1.  If you have other people living with you, then discuss the care needs of your loved one with them and explain what changes you all will need to make in order to keep your loved one safe. Everyone in the house needs to be on board with the changes required for taking care of a patient with dementia patient at home.
  2. 2. Keep the rest of your family up-to-date with how your loved one is doing. Consider establishing a weekly group check-in so that way you don’t have multiple individuals pinging you throughout the week.
  3. 3. Let other family members get involved in caring for your loved one. Even primary caregivers need time off to themselves, so let other family members that you trust watch your loved one, even if it’s only for short stints of time.
  4. 4. Consider bringing in outside help home health aides as your loved one’s condition progresses. This allows you to keep them comfortable in a private home while still getting them the expert dementia care that they need.

Personal Care for the Caregiver

  1. Again, lean on other family members for emotional support and sharing the workload – don’t try to take on everything by yourself. 
  2. Join family caregiver support groups for a sense of community, validation, or simply an opportunity to share your experience with those who share it. 
  3. Take breaks for your mental and physical health. 
  4. Exercise your mind and body – go for walks, practice routine workouts, eat healthy foods, or adopt mindfulness-centered activities like yoga and meditation. 
  5. Turn to therapy or additional mental health support systems to manage the stress of caring for an aging parent with dementia. 
  6. Ensure you have long-term care plans in place, whether it be a nursing home, a memory care facility, or continued in-home care, to make things easier down the line. 

How do you know when it’s time for a nursing home for elderly parents with dementia?

Answering the question “when is it time for a nursing home?” involves evaluating several critical factors. Significant safety concerns, such as frequent falls, wandering, or inability to manage personal hygiene, indicate that a higher level of care is needed. Severe cognitive decline, leading to aggressive behavior or persistent confusion, may be beyond what can be managed at home.

Additionally, when medical needs become complex, requiring 24/7 supervision and professional care, a nursing home may be the best option. If the primary caregiver’s physical and emotional health is deteriorating due to the intense demands of caregiving, it’s a clear sign that professional help is necessary.

Finally, if your loved one’s quality of life is declining due to isolation or lack of appropriate social interactions, a nursing home can provide a more supportive and engaging environment.

Get Support with Silverts

Caring for a family member with dementia requires rethinking many aspects of life that you may have previously taken for granted. While getting dressed is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to dementia care, Silverts is here to lighten the load in that area as much as possible. Our Aadaptive clothing, can make it easier for early stage dementia patients to continue dressing themselves and for dementia caregivers to dress later stage patients as well. 

Shop our selection of men’s adaptive clothing and women’s adaptive clothing, including men’s elastic waist pants, to find new wardrobe solutions for your loved one and simplify your role as a dementia caregiver. Turn to Silvert for help with aging parents and loved ones today!

Sources: 

  1. National Institute on Aging. What Is Alzheimer’s Disease? www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-alzheimers-disease. Accessed on June 25, 2024.
  2. National Institutes of Health. Combination of healthy lifestyle traits may substantially reduce Alzheimer’s. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/combination-healthy-lifestyle-traits-may-substantially-reduce-alzheimers. Accessed on June 27, 2024. 
  3. National Institute on Aging. Alzheimer’s Caregiving: Changes in Communication Skills. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-changes-behavior-and-communication/alzheimers-caregiving-changes-communication. Accessed on June 27, 2024. 
  4. National Institute on Aging. Alzheimer’s Caregiving: Caring for Yourself. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-caregiving/alzheimers-caregiving-caring-yourself. Accessed on June 27, 2024. 
  5. Rosen T, Mack KA, Noonan RK. Slipping and tripping: fall injuries in adults associated with rugs and carpets. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3591732/. Accessed on June 25, 2024.

Comments

  • Jane Doe says:

    My grandfather was diagnosed with dementia 5 years ago. He is my also supporter in my life. He teaches me everything from sports to academic studies. I was felt in pain at that time. But then I decided not to give up my hope. I have started to make plans for him to live a better life. Then I started posting sticky notes everywhere to remind him everytime. I filled my house from beautiful notes. In early days my strategy didn’t work but gradually my grandfather improves his lifestyle by those playcards. Now he is much better. I am a working man now. I have 9 to 5 job. Now i have hired Dementia Care Green Valley AZ. I am satisfied now because the caregivers take care of my grandfather just like their own.

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