A dementia diagnosis does not signal the end. Many people continue living happily at home with the right support structures in place.
A diagnosis of dementia doesn’t mean that your mum or dad needs to go into care. Work with them and their doctor to understand the disease, how it might impact their life, and what you can both do together to ensure they can continue living happily at home.
How to support a parent living with dementia?
Realistically as the dementia develops, it is likely to have an impact on your mum or dad’s ability to carry out some everyday activities. But it’s important for them to stay involved to help maintain skills and independence, and their wellbeing. Tasks like household chores can actually help your mum or dad feel connected to normal life and can support ongoing choice and control.
Keeping occupied and stimulated can improve quality of life, and in turn for those around them. Activities that are meaningful to your parents are more likely to be enjoyable, and may be linked to hobbies or interests that your mum or dad enjoyed before the diagnosis of dementia. For example, taking a walk, cooking or painting can help increase self-esteem.
Having things to do can bring them enjoyment and pleasure, and feeling involved and having a purpose can help someone express how they feel. Dementia doesn’t have to stop your parents doing the things that they enjoy, but they might have to do them in a different way.
Remember to take care of you
Often people in a supporting role tend to put the needs of the person before themselves and this can result in a struggle to manage everything. It’s very important for you to take regular breaks, which could include having some ‘time out’ during the day. If you take regular breaks you may feel better able to support yourself and your mum or dad.
Also, it’s easy to become overwhelmed so work out what you really need to do and which things are less important, and do the most important things first. Don’t compare yourself to other people in a similar position – similar is not the same.
Make sure you talk about things that you are worried about, as it can help put things in perspective. Also, talk about dementia with other people, as not everyone understands about the illness and how it affects those involved.
And don’t forget to ask for help, people around you may not know you need any, and try to involve the whole family as well as friends.
Think positively, and focus on the good things in your caring relationship.
This article was developed in consultation with a dementia specialist. If you or your parents need further help, please contact your local GP or the Alzheimer’s Society. You can also click here to learn more about Dementia United’s aims to make Greater Manchester the best place in the world to live for people with dementia.
September is World Alzheimer’s Month.
World Alzheimer’s Month is an international campaign to raise awareness and challenge stigma. The theme for this year’s World Alzheimer’s Month campaign is Remember Me. Alzheimer’s Disease International is asking you to get involved by sharing your favourite memories, or memories of a loved one, on social media this September with the hashtags #RememberMe #WAM2016.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only. No reader of this post should act on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate professional advice.