Parents, like snowflakes, are unique in design, even more so when a parent is diagnosed with dementia. What was once a loving relationship may start to unravel with memory loss and dementia issues.
Perceptions and attitudes change parental/child bonds when dementia becomes the invisible participant. Initially, you need to “let go” of traditional parental images and commit to being present. A parent does not forget you, your voice, or your touch. It is up to you, the child, to find the memories trapped inside.
Many scenarios exist to stay connected when your Senior has dementia. Here are a few of the most common with helpful solutions.
- Communication: Do not argue. Play along, change the subject, listen and smile. Speak calmly to them as adults. Ask simple yes/no questions. If all else seems to fail… hugs and loving touches often are more powerful than words.
- Frustration: When a parent becomes suspicious or appears angry with people or situations take control. It may help to leave, then return after a few minutes. If those hallucinatory “little people” are obnoxious, calmly tell them to leave or you will call the police and then pretend to usher them out the door.
- Familiarity: Enter your parent’s world. If they enjoy music, play favorite tunes. Religious and patriotic songs are remembered long after people and places are forgotten. Music calms the anxious soul. Surround your parent with familiar items: photos, a favorite chair, a cat or dog if an animal lover. Allow them to carry a wallet or purse… just be sure the checks and money inside only look real and have no value.
- Dignity: Incontinency and poor hygiene become apparent as a Senior’s dementia advances. Have a toilet be visible by painting the wall behind it a darker shade. Provide proper lighting. Never say “Time for a bath.” Instead, try suggesting a spa day, saying it is Saturday bath time, or try a bribe… “how about a bowl of ice cream after your bath?”
- Sleeplessness: A busy day leads to a good night’s sleep.
Appropriate Senior Living Options are found more easily when a good parent/child relationship exists. Bridge to Better Living knows there will be many questions while researching with you and your family. Bridge to Better Living provides the answers and resources needed. Contact Bridge to Better Living today.