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8 Tips on Caring for a Dementia Parent at Home

Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju
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Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

Caring for a parent at home can be both challenging and deeply fulfilling. As your loved one’s cognitive abilities evolve, your caregiving approach must adapt accordingly.

In this guide, we will delve into vital tips and strategies aimed at ensuring the highest level of care for your parent coping with dementia at home.

Navigating the complexities of care requires:

  • Patience.
  • Understanding.
  • Adaptability.

Our aim is to provide you with the knowledge and guidance needed to navigate this journey.

Understanding Dementia

It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the condition.

Dementia is a broad term. It encompasses various cognitive impairments. They affect memory, thinking, and the ability to perform everyday activities. The most common form is Alzheimer’s disease. However, other types need care for patients with dementia. It includes vascular, Lewy body, and frontotemporal types. It’s a progressive condition, meaning symptoms worsen over time.

The condition’s impact extends beyond just memory loss. It affects the ability to communicate, recognize loved ones, and even perform basic tasks. Understanding the specific type of illness your parent has is essential. It can influence the progression of symptoms and the care they need.

The Importance of Home Care for Dementia Patients

Caring for a patient at home offers many advantages. They can significantly contribute to their well-being and quality of life:

  • Familiar Environment. One of the benefits of home care for patients with dementia is providing a familiar and comforting setting. Familiarity can help reduce confusion and anxiety, which are common symptoms. Your parent is more likely to feel secure when surrounded by the same belongings, routines, and faces. Consider decorating their space with familiar photos and mementos, and cherished possessions. These reminders of happier times can provide emotional comfort.
  • Personalized Care. Caring for your parent at home allows you to tailor their care to their specific needs. You have the flexibility to adjust your caregiving approach. This caring for dementia can lead to better outcomes and a higher quality of life. It’s essential to engage your parent in conversations about their preferences whenever possible. This may include discussing meal choices, daily routines, and activities they enjoy. Involving them in decision-making empowers them and helps maintain a sense of control.
  • Cost Savings. Home care can be more cost-effective than institutional care options. There are expenses associated with home caregiving. But they are often lower than the fees charged by long-term care facilities. This financial advantage can be important for long-term care of patients with dementia.

mother and daughter are sitting at the table and smiling, doing craft activities

Activities for Dementia Patients at Home

Engaging activities are vital for the well-being of patients. These activities can help stimulate their minds. It reduces restlessness and enhances their quality of life. Here are some activities to consider.

Memory Games

Engaging in memory games such as puzzles, crosswords, and card games offers a fantastic way to boost cognitive functions and enhance memory recall. These activities provide mental stimulation. And they can be adjusted to suit your loved one’s cognitive abilities. Start with simpler games. And gradually increase the complexity as their cognitive decline progresses.

Craft Activities

Painting, knitting, or crafting offer a creative outlet. It’s both enjoyable and therapeutic. Engaging in hands-on activities can help your parent express themselves. And it maintains their fine motor skills. Also, the sense of accomplishment derived from completing a craft project boosts self-esteem.

Customize craft activities for dementia patients at home. It’s to align with your loved one’s interests and abilities. If they have a background in art, encourage them to create paintings or drawings. Or explore new hobbies together, fostering a sense of discovery and achievement.

Music and Dancing

Music possesses a remarkable influence on patients. Playing their favorite tunes or encouraging them to dance can uplift their mood. And it may trigger cherished memories. Music therapy has demonstrated its effectiveness in reducing anxiety and agitation in patients. It makes it a valuable tool for caregivers.

Construct playlists featuring your parent’s beloved songs. And use music as communication and connection. Sing along with them, and if they relish dancing, indulge in impromptu dance sessions. This activity for dementia patients at home not only stimulates memory. But it also provides emotional comfort and serves as a source of joy.

Gardening

It delivers sensory stimulation, a sense of purpose, and a connection to nature. Planting flowers, tending to potted plants, or relishing time outdoors can be therapeutic. Gardening allows your parent to engage their senses. It’s about the tactile experience of feeling the soil or the delightful scents of the flowers. Thereby it creates a source of joy and relaxation.

Other Activities

Consider individual interests and abilities when choosing activities for dementia patients at home. Here are some extra ideas:

  • Reading. Share books, magazines, or newspapers that align with your parent’s interests. Reading together can be an enjoyable and mentally stimulating activity.
  • Watching Favorite Movies or TV Shows. Enjoying familiar movies or television shows can provide comfort and entertainment. Choose shows or movies that evoke positive memories.
  • Nature Walks. If your loved one enjoys being outdoors, take short walks in the neighborhood or local parks. Nature has a calming effect and can stimulate the senses.
  • Cooking Together. Simple cooking activities can be engaging for dementia patients at home. Prepare easy recipes together. It allows your parent to take part as much as they can.
  • Pet Therapy. Spending time with pets can provide comfort and companionship.

Remember that the key to successful engagement is flexibility. The condition can affect a person’s ability to start or sustain activities. So it’s essential to adapt to their changing needs and interests. Be patient and open to trying new activities. And be attentive to cues that state when your loved one may need a break or a change of activity.

daughter reads to father

Creating a Safe Environment

Safety is a top priority when caring for a patient at home. The illness can lead to behaviors such as wandering, confusion, and forgetfulness. It can put your loved one at risk. Here are some strategies on how to care for dementia patients at home.

Adapting Your Home

For this:

  • Remove Tripping Hazards. Begin by ensuring that your home is free from tripping hazards. Remove loose rugs, clutter, and any obstacles that could cause falls. Secure electrical cords and cables along walls or under rugs to prevent tripping.
  • Install Handrails and Grab Bars. Install handrails along staircases and in bathrooms. These provide essential support for your loved one when moving around the house. In the bathroom, grab bars can help them maintain balance and prevent accidents. It’s especially when getting in and out of the shower or bath.
  • Lock Away Potentially Harmful Items. This is another way how to care for dementia patients at home. Patients may mistake everyday household items for something else. Or they can forget how to use them safely. Lock away potentially harmful items. They’re medications, cleaning supplies, sharp objects, and even kitchen appliances. Consider installing childproof locks on cabinets containing dangerous items.
  • Create Clear Pathways. Ensure that there are clear, unobstructed pathways throughout your home. This allows your loved one to move safely without encountering obstacles. Arrange furniture to create open spaces and cut the risk of accidents.
  • Improve Lighting. Adequate lighting is crucial for caring for dementia parents at home. It’s especially for those who may have difficulty seeing clearly. Ensure all areas of your home are well-lit, including hallways, staircases, and entrances. Consider motion-activated lighting to assist nighttime navigation.

Monitoring Systems

For this:

  • Security Cameras. Consider using home monitoring systems, such as security cameras, to keep an eye on your loved one. These cameras can provide peace of mind. It allows you to check in on them remotely and ensure their safety. Be sure to respect your loved one’s privacy and inform them about the presence of cameras.
  • Door Alarms and Motion Sensors. Patients may wander and become disoriented, which can be dangerous. For caring for dementia parents at home. install door alarms or motion sensors on exterior doors and windows. These devices can alert you if your parent attempts to leave the house unsupervised. Also, consider using a GPS tracking device or wearable technology. It’s to help locate your loved one in case they wander away from home.
  • Medication Management Systems. Your parent may need medication. Then, consider using medication management systems. They dispense the correct doses at the right times. These systems can help prevent missed doses or accidental overdoses.

Routines and Schedules

Establishing a consistent daily routine can help reduce confusion and anxiety. Here are some tips for caring for dementia parent:

  • Meal Times. Set consistent meal times. And ensure your parent eats a balanced diet for their health. Be mindful of any dietary restrictions or preferences. And aim for nutritious and appealing meals.
  • Medication Management. If needed, establish a medication schedule. And use pill organizers to ensure correct doses at the right times. Consider using alarms or reminders to stay on track with medications.
  • Activity Planning. This is one of the best ways how you can care for dementia patients at home. Plan activities at regular times during the day. They’re memory games or crafts. It’s to provide structure and mental stimulation. Be flexible and adapt activities to your parent’s energy and interests.
  • Bedtime Routine. Create a calming bedtime routine for better sleep. It includes activities like reading, listening to soothing music, or dimming the lights. Adequate sleep is essential for cognitive function and well-being.
  • Regular Exercise. Encourage gentle physical activity. For example, short walks or chair exercises. It’s to maintain mobility and reduce restlessness. Exercise can also improve sleep patterns.
  • Social Interaction. Arrange regular visits from friends and family. It’s to offer social interaction and emotional support. Loneliness can worsen symptoms, so staying connected with loved ones is crucial.

Conclusion

In conclusion, caring for a dementia parent at home is a multifaceted responsibility. It requires patience, understanding, and adaptability. By creating a safe and supportive environment, establishing engaging activities, and maintaining consistent routines, you can significantly improve the quality of life for both you and your loved one during this challenging journey.

FAQ

How can I stimulate my parent’s memory?

Engage them in memory-enhancing activities. They’re puzzles, reminiscing about the past, or playing memory games. Create a structured daily routine. Use memory aids like notes and calendars and encourage social interaction.

 

How do I handle aggressive behaviors in dementia patients?

When dealing with aggressive behaviors in dementia patients, prioritize safety. Stay calm, avoid confrontation, and redirect their attention. Identify triggers and try to address underlying causes like pain or discomfort. Seek professional advice and consider support groups for caregivers.

 

Are there any recommended diets for dementia patients?

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats is good. Consider the Mediterranean or DASH diets. They emphasize these foods and have shown potential benefits for cognitive health. Consult a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized dietary recommendations.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been prepared.read more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well together.read more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your business.read more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any cookies.read more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going there.read more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my treatment.read more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to finish.read more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 stars.read more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his staff.read more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best treatment.read more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my doctor.read more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding solutions.read more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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