Caregiving needs your deep involvement, regardless of the age group you have to look after and help. But when it involves aging parents and issues like dementia, it can feel like a challenging task. Since it can affect their cognitive and behavioral abilities, you may not handle them well unless you have some experience. According to experts, caregivers for senior patients with dementia have to increase their awareness about the disease first. Of the various stages of this illness, Alzheimer’s can be one of the most common and severe conditions. You can expect these people to live between four and eight years after the onset of the disease. In some cases, they can spend two decades also.
Knowing about the different dementia stages allows you to understand your parent’s behavioral changes and handle their symptoms well while getting proper medical attention. So, let’s get into them first.
Progressive stages of Alzheimer’s disease
The brain of the affected person can start changing even before the symptoms manifest. You can call it the preclinical phase. The three critical stages of the ailment include early, middle, and late. In the first years of the illness, your mom or dad can continue to live an independent life. They can work, drive, and be socially active. However, brief moments of forgetfulness can occur as they fail to recall names. They can struggle to find items or plan and organize events. Their numeric skills can also take a hit.
In the moderate or middle phase, they can experience massive memory loss, confusion, restlessness, etc. The patient can wander to other places. And they may not be able to do their daily activities, such as dressing and others. Their behavior can also change as they become aggressive, cursing, and combative. At this stage, you may think of keeping them in well-equipped memory care in Boise, Idaho.
The final stage of the disease can make them dependent on others for everything. Your parent would need round the clock daily care. They may not eat, walk, or sit without assistance. Besides, their personalities can also change drastically.
Dementia caregiving at home
According to Jane Byrne of FirstCare nursing home Wicklow, “Over time, the needs of your parents will change as their medical condition progresses. You can cater to their physical needs with guidance from a physician. However, you have to be ready to provide long-term caregiving. Things can be easy to manage a bit if you find support from others and allow them to take care of your parents. Besides, you have to do a few things from your side. If your mom’s or dad’s condition has entered the middle phase of dementia, you would want to create a safe environment in the home for them. For example, the risk of falls can be high. So you would like to do something if there is a staircase in the house. Adding layers of safety should become a priority.”
Apart from the apartment’s stairs, you would also like to evaluate the risks in the garage, basement, yard, and other areas. Supplies like cleaning solutions, chemicals, and tools should again stay inside the storage. Another area that may require your attention is the kitchen. You would want to make sure your mom or dad doesn’t open the stove. Appliances with an automatic shut off system can be an excellent choice. And remove decorative fruit items and seasoning bottles from the countertop. Like this, you can scan walkways and bathrooms to eliminate or control the risk of catastrophe.
As a caregiver, you need to realize that caring for a parent with dementia can be beyond logical conclusions and intuition. For instance, you cannot force them to eat when they find it difficult to chew or swallow. You have to do a reality check of the situation because you cannot predict what will happen. They can suffer from memory loss, personality changes, and many other mental symptoms. You have to be empathetic towards them and maintain patience.
Make sure you take regular breaks from your duties to avoid burnout. Indulge in some me-time and involve other family members, friends, and resources for support with tasks. It would be best if you educate everyone in the family about dementia. If you have children, you can encourage them to spend some time with their seniors. It can be healthy for your aging and the ailing parent. Some memory care homes near you may also include this as a unique program. When you find it challenging to take care of your loved one at home, you can consider these options to help them with assisted living and memory loss. It can only be a practical decision. Hence, you don’t have to feel guilty about it.
Since these units tend to have trained and specialized staff, you can expect your parent’s symptoms to slow down or don’t turn worse.