Caring for an elderly parent can be an overwhelming experience. With all the various emotional, physical, and financial obligations you will face, it is easy to see how you may feel stress and anxiety. However, if your elderly parent suffers with dementia, your role as a caregiver will be even more challenging. Characterized by a decrease in mental ability, dementia can wreak havoc on your family's daily life. If your parent is one of the 47.5 million people with dementia, finding physical, emotional, and financial help is imperative for your family's well-being. Using this guide, you can reduce the stress of caring for your elderly parent with dementia.
If your elderly parent is in good physical health, you may believe they do not need any type of mobility aids, home equipment, or professional help. However, dementia is a mentally debilitating condition that will affect their basic mobility eventually. Your parent may struggle getting in and out of bed, climbing stairs, and bathing themselves while suffering through dementia. To ensure you and your family is physically capable of caring for your parent with dementia, consider the following:
- Mobility Aids – Wheelchairs, knee walkers, or standard walking frames will all help your parent go from one point to another inside the home.
- Home Equipment – Consider installing furniture lifts on beds and favorite chairs. If your home has a second level, install a stair lift to help your parent be more independent and safe. To help your parent bathe on their own, place bathing chairs in showers and tubs. Safety monitors and alarms are key investments in homes with dementia patients. Gas detectors will monitor the amount of gas your elderly parent uses when cooking. In addition, water-level alarms will sound off when your parent over fills sinks or tubs. Lastly, purchase simple alarm clock for your elderly parent. Set the clock to remind your parent to take medications or complete other important tasks.
- Professional Help – Since the dementia patient is your own parent, you may want to take care of them yourselves. However, hiring a professional caregiver for your elderly parent is also smart. Fortunately, many professional services are available. From simple grocery shopping and running errands or daily companionship to grooming and bathing or complete medical care and physical therapy, the possibilities are endless.
Your parent cared for you as a child, so this new reversal of roles can be overwhelming. The role reversal can be an emotional roller coaster due to the various changes in your home and family. While taking time for yourself may not be a priority, you must make the time for your own needs to protect your emotional well-being.
In most areas, you can find a local support group that centers on caring for elderly parents. Visit these support groups occasionally to share stories and tips, which will help you through your new role as caregiver.
Each week, take time for yourself. Schedule an exercise class, salon appointment, or evening out with friends. Make sure to hire a professional to care for your parent while you are away.
Lastly, when others offer to help, take it. You will have many friends and family members offer to cook, clean, care for your young children, and run errands for you during this time. Allowing them to help will greatly reduce your stress.
Caring for a parent with dementia can be costly, no matter how much financial planning they did through their life. Considering in-home care costs an estimated $20 per hour, and full-day services average $65 per day, finding financial support can be beneficial.
To get started, contact Medicaid to see if your parent qualifies for assistance. You will need to provide financial documents from the last few years when applying for assistance. These documents may include your parent's income tax records and bank or retirement account statements. While Medicaid will not cover your personal expenses as an unlicensed caregiver, it may cover the cost of professional care and facilities.
If your parent is a veteran, be sure to contact the United States Department of Veteran's Affairs. VA benefits may cover the cost of professional care, mobility aids, home equipment, and prescription medications.
Caring for an elderly parent with dementia is difficult, but help is available. From mobility aids and professional help to emotional support and elderly benefits, many tools are available to make your new role easier. Visit http://www.devotedguardians.com to learn more about some of the assistance options that are available in your area.