Parents spend their time trying to make their kids happy and giving them the love and support they need to succeed. There comes a time when roles reverse between parent and child. It happens gradually yet can feel like it happened overnight and it can be overwhelming. You may have kids of your own by now, but having to watch over a parent in the same way can be tricky. You don’t want to overstep bounds or make your parents feel less independent. Added stress and worry could occur when the care goes beyond physical and affects cognition. For those caring for parents with dementia, take a deep breath, I’ve got you covered.
We’re in This Together
The first step is to know you are not alone. A study conducted in 2011 showed that 3.6 million with dementia lived outside of nursing homes and that their loved ones have spent 41% of their family care giving hours were spent caring for a loved one with dementia. That being said, the good news is that community resources are set in place to offer you respite care in times of great stress. There are so many set in place that there is a nationwide resource search available to you, here. You can take advantage of home health care agencies every now and again for respite care for yourself while keeping your parent safe. You can also look into adult day cares or senior centers where your parents can spend a few hours making friends and keeping active while you get some rest.
Don’t Forget Yourself
If you’ve ever been on an airplane, you’ve heard the pre-flight safety instructions, one of them being that should your oxygen mask drop down, you are to place it on yourself and then help the person next to you. This is because the best way to take care of others is to first take care of yourself. A simple and cost effective approach to clearing your head, if you haven’t already, is to take up exercise. Exercise is a great way to achieve not only physical health, but mental health as well. You can mix in some yoga and meditation to find calm and relaxation as well.
As protective as parents are and as many boundaries as they set, we have all at one point in time gotten into a little mischief. After all, no one can keep surveillance on others 24 hours a day. The same goes with a parent that now had dementia. There will be moments that we turn away, for just a moment, and they can get into something no good. Rearranging the home and investing in proper durable medical equipment can help in eliminating an injurious accident. Make sure sharp objects, chemicals, and medicines are out of reach for them. Install locks that are not visible to them so they can’t leave unattended and wander off. You can also install bed rails so you and your parent can get a good night’s rest without worrying about them taking a spill out of bed. Just remember that whatever works best for you and your parent is the best solution. You are doing great.