We know it can be difficult to discuss dementia with a parent, especially if they are in the early stages of the condition. However, it is important to approach conversations with sensitivity and understanding when speaking with your parents about dementia. It is also important to remember that dementia is a progressive condition, and the symptoms and effects can vary from person to person.
Being mindful of the signs and symptoms of dementia is crucial, as is being ready to engage in conversations about them with your parents. It can also be helpful to learn more about the forms of support available for older adults living with dementia, such as vibrant memory care communities.
Gaining a comprehensive understanding of dementia and being prepared for discussions can help you assist your parents with navigating the challenges that accompany dementia.
What Is Dementia & How Can It Affect Senior Parents?
Dementia is a progressive neurological disorder that can affect memory, thinking, behavior, and the ability to perform everyday activities. A dementia diagnosis can be challenging for parents and their children, and it can be difficult to know how to approach the subject.
It’s important to keep in mind that your parents might be feeling overwhelmed and scared after learning they have dementia. So, it’s essential to be patient and understanding, giving them the support they need.
Here are some ways you can help your parents cope with a dementia diagnosis:
- Offer to attend medical appointments with them and take notes so they don’t have to.
- Find support groups in the community for you and your parents to connect with other people who are living with dementia.
- Encourage regular physical activity, which has been shown to improve cognitive function and reduce dementia risk.
- Help your parents maintain their independence and stay engaged in activities that bring them joy.
- Research ways to help make daily tasks easier with aids such as voice assistants or memory reminders.
- Spend quality time with your parents and help keep their minds active by engaging in meaningful conversations.
It is also important to recognize when you need help. If your parent’s condition progresses, it may become more difficult for you to manage the situation alone.
You may find it helpful to speak with family members or friends who can provide support and assistance as needed. Additionally, many senior living communities offer supportive memory care that can help with day-to-day activities, such as transportation and meal preparation.
How to Prepare for a Conversation About Dementia
Preparing for a conversation about dementia can feel overwhelming. However, it’s crucial to approach the discussion with empathy and understanding. Prior to initiating the conversation, it can be helpful to learn more about dementia and its effects so you can understand how it may affect your parents.
Additionally, it is important to be aware of the resources available for adults with dementia and their families. This could include support groups, counseling, and other services that can help them live fulfilling lives with dementia.
When having a conversation, it is important to be patient and understanding. It is also important to be honest and open about the diagnosis and its effects. Creating an opportunity for you and your parents to ask questions and express yourselves clearly helps increase your understanding of the support they may need or want.
It can also be helpful to spend time together looking for information about the resources available for dementia support.
Tips for Discussing Dementia with a Parent
It is important to be aware of the signs of dementia and to be prepared to discuss them with your parents.
Having a conversation about dementia with a parent can be a difficult and emotional experience, but it is important to approach the conversation with an open perspective, understanding, patience, and empathy.
- Open Dialogue: Remaining open helps create a foundation for understanding between you and your parents.
- Understanding: Remember that your parents may be feeling overwhelmed and scared. Try to understand their perspective and be empathetic.
- Patience: Be patient with your parents as they process the diagnosis. It may take time for them to understand the support they need or want.
- Empathy: Show empathy towards your parent’s feelings and emotions. Try to put yourself in their shoes and understand what they are going through.
- Honesty: Be honest and open with your parents about how you’re feeling and encourage them to be honest as well. Provide them with support and understanding.
- Information and Resources: Help your parents find resources and information about dementia to better understand the condition. Assist them in finding ways to cope with the diagnosis.
- Support: Lastly, be patient and understanding, and provide the support your parents may need during this challenging time.
Taking Action & Moving Forward with Dementia
Taking action and moving forward is an important step in discussing dementia with a parent. It is important to remember that dementia is a progressive condition, and you may need to be prepared for the changes that can come.
At Fox Trail in Princeton, we follow a personalized approach to supporting those affected by dementia. Our priority is to help adults with dementia and their families gain a sense of peace, security, safety, and fulfillment in a supportive community with activities and programming that we can adjust for individual needs.
Contact us to learn more about dementia and the support we offer for older adults and their families.