Even for a young and healthy person, memory can be an unreliable thing. For someone struggling with dementia, this can turn into a proper nightmare. Paradoxically, a person suffering from dementia often has no idea just how big a problem this is. Therefore, this diagnosis tends to be the cruelest towards those they hold dear. Seeing as how this is a problem that most commonly occurs with people in old age, this burden often falls onto their children. With that in mind, here are several tips, hints, and pointers on how to deal with the parent’s diagnosis of dementia.
1. Process These Emotions
A person with dementia needs some immediate help, which is why a child often has no time to deal with these emotions the way in which they should. This, sadly, doesn’t mean that the side-effects of this immense grief, stress, and fear can’t be felt. The best piece of advice one can receive in this scenario is the fact that they should allow themselves to process these emotions. Grief is a normal part of this process, which is why you might embark on a journey through the five stages of grief and loss.
2. Look for Support
The next thing you need to do is get some support to help you get through this in one piece. We’re not necessarily talking about someone to help you care for your parent but just someone to be there for you. A lot of people find it difficult to talk to a psychiatrist, yet, this might be advised in this scenario. Moreover, having a friend to confide in is one of the most important things here. You see, some people feel bad for themselves and feel guilty about this. After all, their parents are the ones who got the worst of it, right? Well, this doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to complain or feel bad about your own role in this situation and sometimes, letting this steam off verbally may help.
3. Find Professional Assistance
Knowing your limitations is one of the best indicators that you are, indeed, a mature person. Sure, your parent took care for you while you were young, so, now you might feel compelled to return the favor. Still, you need to be aware of the fact that a person with a diagnosis of dementia might be in need of specialized care; care that you may not be able to provide. In that particular scenario, the best course of action would be to look for some guidance from national organizations like Dementia Australia or even look for specialized facilities and trained medical professionals.
4. Don’t Neglect the Rest of Your Family
Just because one family member is in need of your help, it doesn’t mean that the rest of your family no longer needs you. Your spouse, your children, your siblings, and your friends still need you. Sure, you may no longer be able to give them as much time as you did in the past but you can’t just outright push them aside. Sure, it’s hard. Sure, it takes time. Nonetheless, it’s something that you absolutely have to do.
5. Me Time
Previously, we talked about the problem you’ll have with time. Now, aside from finding some time for close ones, it’s also crucial that you find some time for yourself. Watch a movie, start exercising, take a walk or find a new hobby. Either way, it’s vital that you find a way to blow off some steam, seeing as how you’ll be under an incredible amount of stress. Remember, when a lot of people depend on you, it’s vital that you find a way to keep it all together. Everyone copes with stress differently and it’s vital that you find a way to handle this on your own.
At the end of the day, coping with the parent’s diagnosis of dementia simply cannot be an easy thing. Nonetheless, how hard it gets depends on your mindset and course of action that you decide to take. Sure, things are bad, however, it’s up to you to determine how bad it can get. While it may not seem as much, this can make a lot of difference in the lives of people you hold dearest. In other words, it makes all the difference in the world.