Life is a circle and, at some point, you’ll have to begin taking care of your own parents as they approach the twilight of their lives. If your parent is ailed by a malady that causes dementia, your duty as a child becomes more challenging, but equally as fulfilling if you do it right. Unfortunately, we live in the age when the corporate philosophy requires you to be dedicated to work more than ever before, and here’s how an active businessperson can still care for an elderly parent with dementia.
Keep it straightforward
Time is a precious commodity if you work a lot. This means that you have to establish straightforward communication with your parent. If they suffer from dementia, short replies and simple questions can actually be quite helpful. This means that you should ask one question at a time and keep them binary –- give your parents the luxury of answering with yes or no. Sit directly in front of them when you want them to answer in order to avoid distractions. Spoon-feed them short statements that will engage them with simple, easy-to-understand information.
If you need to divide your time between your work and parent care, you should definitely consider individualised care – which is taking the world of elder care by storm. Establishments that practice such an approach to medical and individual care are getting better and they are acquiring all the best hallmarks of hotels, so your dementia-stricken parent won’t feel neglected if your work requires them to stay in a facility for a few days.
It’s all up to the dynamic and highly trained staff that is the best at what they do. You can research the ins and outs of the finest contemporary dementia care program in order to discover all the benefits of individualised care, and see if this is something that may suit your parent.
Always ask your parents for their opinion
You will save a lot of time if your communication with dementia-stricken parent is a two-way street. When you share precious time together between your working hours, keep asking them about their preferences. Note: do not ask them to elaborate on any opinions, just ask them about preferences, what sort of service they enjoyed the most, what care they prefer, etc. Engage with their emotional aspect instead of the logical one.
Evaluate your own attitude
When you spend so much time divided between your responsibilities towards your children, your work and your ailing parent, you constantly need to re-evaluate your own attitude in order to stay at the top of every situation. If your parents are more stubborn than usual and they resist help, you might be the one making the wrong moves. For example, you might be contributing to the set of bad situations by unconsciously telegraphing your anger and frustration.
Caregivers go through a battery of trainings where they learn about the importance of non-verbal communication with dementia patients, so there must be something to it. If your parent is under the care of a professional caregiver or an establishment, you can even seek their advice on the matter. They might point you in the right direction if you have a hard time figuring out where you are going wrong.
Be willing to compromise
On the one side – you have a parent who can be quite difficult due to their condition. Be ready to compromise in order to solidify trust between you. Sometimes, they will refuse to do something seemingly for no reason, and if you approach them from the “you have to comply” perspective, the results will be even more detrimental.
On the other side – you have a workplace, but you cannot expect yourself to be a business superman. The burdens of the world are not yours to carry, so lay out the situation to your employees and see if you can get some awfully needed breathing space to properly take care of your parent.
Taking care of parents with dementia is a great challenge and it is not made easier by the stubborn disposition of the parents themselves. In fact, stubbornness is one of the possible side effects of dementia and it is the main reason why children lose their nerves and request the help of professional caregivers. They are especially prone to make this decision if they’re juggling numerous work-related obligations, but with some patience and a willingness to participate, both you and your parent can benefit immensely in the long run.