How Do I Care for My Mother Who Has Dementia?
Caring for your mother, who has dementia, comes with a unique set of challenges. She may be experiencing physical, behavioral, and cognitive changes that keep you on your toes. Whether you are your mom’s sole caregiver or share the responsibility with others, you may find these tips helpful as her dementia continues to progress.
Everyday Dementia Care Tips
- Follow a routine for bathing, dressing, and eating.
- When assisting with activities of daily living, be gentle and respectful. Allow your mother to complete tasks as independently as possible.
- Plan simple activities you and your mom can do together at the same time each day.
- Help your mother write down appointments, events, and to-do lists in a notebook or calendar.
- Come up with a reminder system for taking medications.
Handling Changes in Communication & Behavior
- If your mother has language difficulties, speak calmly and slowly. Listen to her concerns and frustrations and show that you understand.
- If your mother forgets who you are, gently remind her, but avoid adding, “Don’t you remember?”
- If she’s having trouble communicating, redirect your mom’s attention to a well-loved activity, such as reading or looking through a photo album.
Promoting a Healthy & Active Lifestyle
- Suggest activities your mom can physically do to help her stay active, such as baking, gardening, or taking walks.
- Add music to the activity if it helps motivate your mom to participate.
- Stock the fridge and pantry with healthy foods that are easy to prepare, such as premade salads and single-serving meals.
- Offer choices, but don’t make them open-ended. For instance, instead of asking, “What would you like to eat?” ask, “Would you like rice or pasta for lunch today?”
Home Safety Tips
- Install handrails on both sides of the stairs.
- Remove tripping hazards such as rugs, extension cords, and clutter on the floor.
- Install nightlights in hallways and bathrooms.
- Lock away cleaning supplies and household products, such as paint thinner and matches.
Take Care of Yourself
- Take breaks every day. Try sipping a cup of tea or taking a drive alone.
- Ask for help when you need it.
- Make time for friends and hobbies.
- Join a caregiver’s support group online or in person.
Consider Dementia Care
If you reach the point where you’re struggling to meet your mother’s needs, consider moving her into a dementia care facility. This decision benefits you by relieving your caregiving duties, but it’s not a selfish choice. After all, a professional dementia care provider can help your mother receive the memory care, social interaction, medication management, and other services she needs to be happier and healthier.
For help finding a safe, permanent, and nurturing home for your mother who has dementia, turn to Helping Hands for Seniors. We are an accredited senior living referral service qualified to recommend compassionate memory care providers in the Portland area. To learn more, please call us at (503) 746-4740 or contact us online.