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Are You Concerned About an Aging Parent?

by Renee Marcus on 4/16/15 4:18 PM

Caring for a parent with alzheimer’s or dementia presents certain challenges. If you’re the primary caregiver, it’s important to make sure you know how to handle difficulties related to these conditions while also taking care of yourself. The following geriatric care tips can help you out.

concerned about an aging parent

Minimize Distractions

Dementia and Alzheimer’s affect the ability to focus, so don’t be surprised if your elderly parent seems to ignore you or becomes easily distracted by other sounds. When you talk to your loved one, make sure the room is as quiet as possible. Shut off background noise, such as the TV, and don’t start speaking until you’re sure that you have your parent’s full attention. 

Keep It Simple

Don’t give your parent a lot of information to process at once. Ask one simple, direct question at a time, and allow plenty of time to answer. If you’re trying to get your loved one to perform a certain activity, such as getting dressed or preparing a meal, break it down into smaller steps and be willing to help out as needed. 

Change the Subject

Seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s sometimes become irritable or frustrated over certain things. When your parent gets upset, try changing the subject. You can also suggest taking a walk around the house or outside. Sometimes, moving to a different room or environment helps calm things down. 

Take Care of Yourself

You can’t provide the geriatric care your aging parent needs unless you make sure you’re healthy. Caregiving can be very stressful, especially when you’re helping someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Take time to prepare nutritious meals for yourself, get plenty of sleep, exercise on a regular basis and make sure you have time to yourself so you can unwind. 

Stay Positive

While caring for someone who is experiencing cognitive decline can be difficult, it’s important to stay positive. Pay close attention to your body language, facial expressions and tone of voice when you’re around your parent. Those with dementia and Alzheimer’s can still pick up on these subtle clues that tell what kind of mood someone else is in. By staying positive, you’ll help your parent stay calmer and less stressed.

Set Up a Quiet Spot

Seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s can feel overstimulated or overwhelmed at times, especially if they’re in a noisy environment. Make sure your parent has a quiet place to retreat to during these times.


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