If you’re a family member and caregiver to a loved one with dementia, you’re going to need as much help as you can get to cope with watching a parent begin to lose touch with reality.
Your parent will know that they’re no longer able to function mentally as they did before, which is going to lead to an initial sense of vulnerability in the face of the sheer loss of these abilities.
Staying calm in the face of Dementia behaviour:
It’s going to be just as frustrating for you as it is for your parent to deal with the difficulties that’ll arise in terms of communication.
What your parent will need most at this stage is reassurance and support. It’s a frightening position to be in, for both of you and your family.
Every situation is going to call for mighty brave steps, and no adult child taking care of their parent is going to be fully prepared for every situation, but knowing more about the disease will help.
No matter how hard it is to understand why people with Dementia act out in so many ways contrary to their nature, it is attributed to the changes the disease causes in the brain as it progresses.
People with Dementia aren’t simply going out of their way to be difficult, it’s a disease, not a choice!
There are some common situations and behaviours that can be prepared for. Gaining as much information on these is going to better prepare you for behaviour that may shock and upset you, so that you are able to deal with it as calmly as possible.
Dealing with stages that go from stubbornness to aggression:
Your parent with Dementia is going to become stubborn as the disease progresses. With the confusion, paranoia, anger and sadness that your parent is more than likely dealing with, stubbornness is to be expected.
Your parent may refuse to eat, bathe or dress, among other situations that could arise, and it’s at this stage that you need to be prepared for the progression to aggression, verbally and physically.
Even as you’re facing the heartbreak and challenges of caring for a parent with Dementia, it’ll help if you think of them as a frightened child that acts out whenever it’s uncomfortable, in a strange place or in an unfamiliar situation.
It’s hard for you not to get angry too, but if you keep in mind that underlying the aggression is fear, and if your parent had a choice, they’d behave as they did before Dementia began its progression.
Ask for help when you need it:
Not even a Saint would be able to handle dementia care alone, especially when it’s caring for a parent at home! Be kind to yourself. You need to know when it’s time to call in the right kind of help.
Not everyone in the family will be able to assist people with Dementia care, and that’s okay too, as long as you know where to turn to for regular relief and downtime if you’re the main caregiver.
You’ll want absolute peace of mind that your parent will be well-cared for by a professional in your absence, one who understands the depth of compassion and patience it takes to provide Dementia care.
This is one of the home care services offered by CareChamp, providing short or long term dementia care to assist with the daily needs of people throughout the progression of Dementia.
Please contact the management team at CareChamp to discuss Dementia Care options in South Africa, whether you simply need a break for a few hours a week and in the short or long term.