When you find out your parent has dementia, it can feel like the world is crashing down on you. You are juggling the stress of taking care of an aging parent with a debilitating disease, and trying to raise your own kids at the same time. It can be difficult to know where to start. Juggling caregiving and parenting can be a daunting task, but it is not impossible.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is a progressive disease that causes changes in memory, thinking, and behavior. It is characterized by a decline in cognitive function and can be accompanied by changes in mood and personality. Early onset dementia can begin as early as age 40, but the majority of cases are diagnosed in people over the age of 65. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for 60-80% of all cases.
There are 3 stages of Dementia:
• Mild – In mild stage, people may experience some forgetfulness and difficulty with complex tasks.
• Moderate – In moderate stage, people may have more trouble with memory and decision making skills. They may
also experience changes in mood and behavior.
• Severe – In severe stage, people will require total care as they lose the ability to do even basic activities such as
eating and going to the bathroom.
What are Some of the Difficulties of Taking Care of Aging Parents with Dementia?
It can be very difficult to care for someone with dementia, especially if you are also trying to take care of your own children. Dementia is a progressive disease, which means it will gradually get worse over time. Taking care of someone with dementia can be both physically and emotionally exhausting. You may need to help them with basic activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. You may also need to deal with their mood swings and behavioral changes. It can be very difficult to watch your parents slowly lose their memories and their ability to take care of themselves.
Early onset dementia can begin as early as age 40, but the majority of cases are diagnosed in people over the age of 65. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for 60-80% of all cases.
What are Some Tips for Caring for Parents with Dementia and Raising Children?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for caring for someone with dementia while raising your kids, but there aresome general tips that can help:
• Create a support network: Find other family members or friends who can help you care for your parent with dementia. This can take some of the pressure off of you and help ensure that your parent is getting the care they need.
• Encourage your loved one to eat a healthy diet and exercise: Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise can help slow the progression of dementia.
• Make sure their home is safe: As your parent’s dementia progresses, they may become forgetful or confused. This can lead to them wandering off or falling. Make sure their home is safe by removing any potential hazards and installing safety features like grab bars in the bathroom.
• Create a daily routine: A regular routine can help your loved one feel more secure and less confused. Include activities they enjoy, like listening to music or going for walks, as well as tasks that need to be done, like taking medication or eating meals.
• Educate yourself about dementia and the different stages of the disease. This will help you understand what to expect and how to best care for them.
• Create a support system of family and friends who can help out when you need it.
• Remember to include your children in the caregiving process. Explain what is happening to their grandparents and involve them in activities like reading or playing games together.
• Children are naturally curious. It’s important to be honest with them about what is happening and to answer their questions in an age-appropriate way.
Caring for a parent with dementia can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone. There are resources and support available to help you through this difficult time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to contact your support system. And don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. You need to be strong for your family. Do you have experience caring for a parent with dementia? What tips would you add?