Coping with one of your parents living with dementia is often overwhelming. It can already be enough to care for elderly parents, but what happens if both require dementia care, as well?
This will be extremely difficult and frustrating. Each parent will have different symptoms and their own challenges. This is not something you will be able to do on your own, nor should you.
When Both Parents Have Dementia
The chances of both parents showing signs of dementia at the same time are unlikely but possible. The sooner you have the diagnosis, the better chance you have of getting ahead of the care needed.
Prepare The Home- 2 Parents With Dementia Means You Have To Be Doubly Prepared
The first thing you need to do is make sure the home is safe for them. This means the whole home. It’s important to reduce the risk of injury. Remove the furniture with hard corners and sharp edges, and add softer ones.
Lock up tools, knives, blenders, irons, anything that can pose a danger or injury. You may also want to have safety controls on the oven and stove, to prevent them from being able to turn them on.
You may need to make adjustments to their washrooms. Consider a walk-in tub and handrails in the shower, above the bathtub, and beside the toilet. Add the non-slip mats or stickers to the bottom of the tub and shower stall.
Make sure the halls and all the rooms have good lighting. Many people experience sundowning, which is a triggered reaction to the room getting darker.
Use bright stickers, labels, and arrows or notes to identify certain items in the home. Often, even the simplest things become a challenge to them. Label items and where they are. Arrows on the floors, illuminated light switches, and small nightlights can help tremendously.
Make sure they can’t wander off. If this starts to happen, it is likely time to consider they may not be safe at home. Often, a child’s gate can be helpful, but keep doors to the outside locked.
Education is So Important
Find out everything you can about dementia and make sure everyone in the family is informed. It is going to be very overwhelming, so one of the greatest tools you can have is to be informed.
The more you know, the fewer surprises you will have. There are physical symptoms, as well as mental health aspects. You need to be prepared for eating issues, bathroom accidents, personality changes, and you need to be calm and realistic about what is going on.
Reach Out- Having 2 Parents With Dementia Is Hard
Don’t try to take it all yourself. If you can’t depend on your family, then seek professional help. That includes help for you, as well. Don’t be upset that your family doesn’t want to become carers for your parents.
It is an extremely difficult time for everyone, your parents included. In the early stages, have someone come in to watch them when you can’t. You shouldn’t have to give up your life to care for them, so don’t let guilt drive your decision-making.
Talk to your family about what you are all going through. It’s the same thing. You can help each other by talking about what you are all feeling. Be honest and you will find a lot of peace through that.
You need to reach out to all the resources available to you and your parents in your community. Get help where you need it, with your parents, with your stress, and the grief you are coping with.
Losing a parent to dementia is still losing a parent. You need to see them differently. It will be difficult, but understand it’s no one’s fault. Don’t get angry or frustrated. Get help.
Memory Care Home
Part of reaching out is finding a place for them to live once being at home is no longer an option. Their safety and care must come first. Finding a good memory care home should be near the top of your list, so you already have that option in place.
This is going to be a very difficult time, so find joy where you can. With them, with your family, and with your friends and support team. It’s going to be a group effort.
We Are Here To Help
At Sycamore Creek Ranch Memory Care we are here to help. We want families to make the best decision for their situation.
Furthermore, the staff at Sycamore Creek Ranch is proactive. That means we are not waiting for a problem to arise. Instead, we are actively engaged with each and every resident. And with only 16 residents we can do that! Come for a tour at Sycamore Creek Ranch! See how we can help!