Anyone that has a parent who is living with dementia, will know that dementia is a very hard disease to deal with. Not only the demented persons themselves but also their loved ones suffer greatly from it. Thus, if you have a parent that suffers from this crippling disease and you don’t really know how to cope with your emotions and feelings on this, this article may be right for you. So, keep reading to find out how you can help yourself can be able to take care of yourself, while also caring for your dementia suffering parent(s) at the same time.
1. Remember the good times
When you are visiting your elderly parent and they are experiencing one of their bad days, it’s important that you remember the good times. This will really help you with putting the situation in perspective. You must remember that if one of your parents were to forget who you are, it’s the disease talking and not your parent. Even if they don’t remember anything, you will have memories for the both of you and that is what really counts anyway.
2. Don’t be afraid to take a moment for yourself
Your parents have been taking care of you for most of your life, so it is only natural that you are there for them when they need you to because of dementia. However, if you sometimes feel like you are getting overwhelmed because the situation is getting a bit too much for you, that’s okay too. If you need to, you can distance yourself for a few minutes(or hours) and come back to tend to your parent(s) when you feel ready again.
3. Find friends with similar experiences
It should be noted that coping with parents with dementia isn’t easy for anyone. Thus, it could be helpful to find friends that have had similar experiences that you did. This way, you don’t have to bottle up your feelings and you will be able to receive support from other people that know what you are going through. They might even be able to offer you some tips on how to cope with the situation.
4. Find ways to relieve the stress
Taking care of a parent that suffers from dementia can really burn you out if you are not careful. That’s why it’s essential that you don’t get too absorbed in taking care of your parents and that you still find ways to enjoy other things. Thus, you will need an outlet of any kind to really take your mind of the sad situation at hand. This way, you will have extra energy that your demented parent really can benefit from, so it is a win-win for all parties involved.
5. Don’t expect too much
Dementia is a disease that greatly affects the memory of the people that have been diagnosed with it. Thus, if you have a parent that suffers from this awful disease, you can’t expect too much from them in this area. Otherwise, I can guarantee that you will often be left disappointed and that won’t help anyone at all. Furthermore, dementia can be very unpredictable in a lot of ways, so there really shouldn’t be any expectations involved whatsoever anyway. It would only affect an already tragic situation in an even more negative manner.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
This last self-care tip might be the most important of them all. You should know that you don’t have to carry the burden of taking care of your parent(s) with dementia all alone. When you feel like you are in over your head, you should definitely ask for help. It doesn’t matter who you ask, anyone that is able to help, even to a very small extent, will do wonders. For example, you could try asking for help from other family members or you could seek help with professional careers that are experienced in the dementia department. It’s up to you.
To conclude, while it’s important to take care of your parents when they are this sick, it is also very important to really take care of yourself once in a while. Hopefully, these tips will make it easier for you to achieve that.