6 Solutions to Help You Care For Your Aging Parent With Dementia

August 19, 2017 Published by

When you have parents who are getting older, one of your worst nightmares is that they are diagnosed with alzheimers or dementia. How can you care for them and what can you do if they’re in the early stages or just showing signs that they might have a memory problem, but they haven’t been diagnosed yet. They might be in denial or fear losing their autonomy and independence.

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The good news is that there are steps you can take and tools like personal GPS tracking that can help ease your peace of mind and help your aging parent preserve as much independence as possible. Below you’ll find 6 solutions for helping your parent in the early stages of dementia.

  1. Physical activity: If your parent is diagnosed with a memory impairment such as dementia, it’s important that you encourage them to stay active. Of course staying active has benefits for everybody, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. But getting regular exercise can also help your aging parent stay independent longer by preserving and improving their ability to participate in their regular daily activities like getting dressed, cleaning, and cooking. In addition, studies have shown that physical activity can slow down the mental decline and improve memory function in people diagnosed with dementia or alzheimers.
  2. Routine: In this article by Anne-Marie Botek at Aging Care, several experts point out the benefits of regular routines for people diagnosed with dementia or alzheimers. In fact, a predictable routine can actually help your aging parent stay focused and remember what they are doing. Furthermore, establishing a schedule and sticking to it, can help transfer daily tasks from short term memory to long term memory so your mom or dad can be as independent as possible for much longer as the disease progresses.  
  3. Door alarms: We’ve talked a bit about door alarms for so you can help monitor when your teens are sneaking out, but your parent with dementia could be prone to wandering at night as well. Putting a door alarm on every door in your home will alert you no matter what time of night it is to the fact that your mom or dad is on the move so you can help them before they’ve left your home even.  
  4. Identification: Making sure your parent with dementia carries their regular identification like a state ID card or Driver’s License if they still drive isn’t enough. It’s not uncommon for a person with dementia to remove their ID from their wallet or purse. When you’re worried that your loved one will wander, you can use additional identification methods, including Medical Alert bracelets or necklaces with your parent’s name, contact information, and details about their medical conditions. You can also sew this information into all their clothes, including sleepwear.
  5. GPS tracking device in all vehicles: Even if your aging parent with dementia or alzheimer’s disease no longer drives, it doesn’t mean that they might not take the car. People with dementia have been found wandering 100’s of miles away from home because they took one of the family cars. Using things like active GPS tracking and geofences can help you and first responders find your parent if they’ve wandered with the car or gotten lost while driving.
  6. Personal GPS Tracking device: Even without a car, GPS tracking using personal devices can help ease your worries if your parent with dementia is prone to wandering or still does their own shopping but might get lost or confused easily. Plus people with memory impairments have been known to buy plane or bus tickets and wound up far from home. Using a personal GPS tracking device can help you know exactly where your mom or dad is and get help to them before they get too far away.

Of course any solution you use when caring for an aging parent who has dementia or alzheimer’s needs to be discussed with their doctors and other medical providers. But encouraging your parent to stay active, help them stick to a consistent routine and using things like GPS tracking can help them retain as much independence as possible and help you worry less about them wandering or getting lost.

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This post was written by Malcolm Rosenfeld

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