by ROAD iD Staff April 23, 2021

Source: fizkes/Shutterstock

It’s not easy to watch a family member age. You’re expected to take care of them, and many are open and willing to take on the task. They raised you when you were young, and you should provide them with the same care in return. 

However, having a family member with dementia makes the situation of care harder. Dementia is a degenerative disease. People suffering from dementia experience memory loss, issues speaking, aggressiveness, hallucinations, physical wandering and more.

Caring for a family member with dementia can be difficult. You’ll often find yourself googling, late at night, “how to deal with dementia” out of frustration. But caring for your aging family member shouldn’t be a frustration. Whether it’s remaining patient with them or having them wear a medical alert bracelet, you can help keep your relative healthy and safe. 

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Maintain healthy communication

First and foremost, you should do your best to remain patient with your family member. As mentioned, dementia is a degenerative disease. Your relative may be aware of their cognitive decline, but there will be instances where they are unaware of what’s happening to them — what is sometimes referred to as an episode of dementia.

The worst thing for you to do to them, in the middle of one of their episodes, is to bring attention to the fact that they are forgetting things. From their perspective, they don’t realize that they seem confused, have forgotten something you said 15 minutes ago or are repeating themselves. Calling them out will only make them more uncomfortable, as well as potentially making the situation more fraught. 

Avoid distractions

One of the most common symptoms of dementia is increased confusion. When attempting to communicate with a person, they will lose focus on their thought, find themselves struggling to remember what they wanted to say and get distracted by something else in the process, making the initial matter worse. 

It’s important you limit distractions when communicating with them. Understand that there is a time and place for every conversation, and that they cannot handle too many conversations at once. If they seem confused, slow down and simplify. Keep the conversation straightforward to avoid overwhelming them. 

Keep it simple

One way to avoid confusion when interacting with your family member is to ask simple questions. Issues can arise when you begin asking open-ended questions or provide them with too many choices at once. Such situations can lead to them becoming confused and overwhelmed. 

Instead, keep to simple yes-or-no questions or provide them with visual prompts. 

helping elderly illustration

Source: Mary Long/Shutterstock 

Protection while wandering and around strangers

It’s highly unsafe if your family member begins wandering out in public or is regularly interacting with complete strangers. Their behavior is sure to appear concerning, and some strangers might react poorly to them. 

dementia ID bracelet can protect them against backlash and provide them with necessary assistance. Whether it’s a police officer conducting a wellness check or a concerned citizen wondering why they’re acting aggressively, their engraved medical alert bracelet will inform them of their dementia diagnosis, allowing that bystander to administer help as they can. 

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Avoid power dynamics

This is especially important if the family member with dementia is a parent. Part of later stage dementia is the misplacement of time, as caused by memory loss. This often includes a person thinking they are living in a different year, mistaking people around them for relatives from their past. 

As a child, this can cause issues, especially if you’re attempting to exert power over them. You can suddenly find that your parent becomes aggressive and stern, acting out of disbelief of their childdisobeyingthem. 

It’s recommended you find an intermediary to assist you whenever big decisions need to be made — ones wherein they are not in control. It will make processing the information easier for them, as they won’t take it nearly as personal as they would if it were coming from you. 

Seeking professional help

The best thing you can do is seek out professional medical help. While you can help cover the basic day-to-day care of your family member, a medical professional will be able to more accurately assess their cognitive abilities and offer treatment for their disease. That professional opinion can be imperative in making decisions, providing care and more. 

Furthermore, they can provide you with recommendations based upon the level of your family member’s dementia. If it has become aggressive enough, they may recommend sending them to a medical facility which treats people suffering from dementia. Moreover, they can point you in the direction of chat rooms and support groups who can offer personal assistance. 

caretaker with elderly woman

Source: Bencemor/Shutterstock

Taking care of your family and yourself 

Living with a family member who has dementia can be difficult, but you can keep them safe without the act of caring for them taking over your life. Along with considering seeking professional medical help, a dementia ID bracelet can protect your relative in the event that they wander or become confused. 

Relieve yourself of the stress of daily care. Protect your family member with a medical alert bracelet and professional care.