Tips For Visiting Your Elderly Parent Who Is Struggling With Dementia


When your elderly parent is diagnosed with dementia, relocating him or her into a health facility that caters to memory care issues is in everyone's best interest. Your parent will receive the best care possible while you won't have to stress about him or her living independently or with you. You'll likely want to visit your loved one regularly, but it's important to know that these visits can occasionally be difficult. This is especially true if your parent has trouble understanding who you are. Here are some tips to keep in mind for when you visit.

Call In Advance

Depending on the severity of your parent's dementia, you may be able to reach out to him or her in advance of your visit. While some people may forget that their loved ones are coming, others will remember — and this can be useful. Many dementia patients don't respond well to surprises. If you catch your parent unaware by dropping in for an unscheduled visit, he or she may have trouble remembering who you are, for example. However, if you can connect with your parent on the phone and say that you'll be coming later in the day, this may bode well for the visit.

Identify Yourself

You want to give your elderly parent as many details as possible when you visit. These can help to jog his or her memory about you. For example, don't just enter his or her room and begin talking. Instead, gently remind your parent of your name, as well as of the names of any family members who are visiting with you. This may be emotionally challenging, given that it's upsetting to think that your parent doesn't recognize you. However, saying your names and then waiting for your parent to integrate this information may remind him or her who you are.

Be Sensitive With Physical Contact

You may long to wrap your arms around your parent in a tight embrace, but it's important to respect his or her boundaries. Some dementia patients do not respond well to physical contact — they may view something as innocent as a hug as an act of aggression or control, and may respond aggressively themselves. Instead of assuming that physical contact is appropriate, ask your parent if he or she feels like a hug. If your offer is declined, it's important to respect your parent's wishes — even if this is tough for you.


20 May 2017

Helping Your Parent Adjust to Assisted Living

My husband and I recently moved his mother to an assisted living facility. My name is Audrey Martin, and I am going to share our experience with you. My mother-in-law is eighty-two years old. She has been living on her own for twelve years since her husband passed away. My husband, David, is her only child. That left us in charge of making this decision for her since she has declined to the point of not being able to make sound decisions on her own. I’m not going to tell you that it’s been easy, but I will say that it can be done. I hope that what I’m about to share proves to be helpful to you should the time come that you are the one moving a loved one to an assisted living facility. Thanks for stopping by!