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Coping with a Senior Parent’s Dementia Diagnosis

Daughter comforting parent with dementia diagnosis

Learning that your senior parent has dementia is life-changing for the entire family. You, your parents, and other family members will likely experience various emotions, including shock, grief, and fear. Coming to terms with a dementia diagnosis takes time. Learning how to cope with a parent with dementia can empower your family.

Buckner Villas provides senior memory care for individuals with all levels of dementia. Our experienced staff provides high-quality, personalized, compassionate care for all residents in a safe, secure, and beautiful setting. Our memory care program provides a comfortable, home-like environment with extensive amenities.

Call 512.580.9882 to learn more about handling a parent with a dementia diagnosis and the benefits of senior memory care at Buckner Villas.

The Impact of Learning a Loved One Has Dementia

Dementia has a significant impact not only on the diagnosed person but also on those closest to them. When a senior parent gets diagnosed with dementia, children and other family members have to take on new and different roles and responsibilities, including that of caregiver. As dementia progresses, these roles and responsibilities change and may become more challenging.

Among family members, especially those acting as caregivers, grief and loss, guilt, and anger are the most commonly reported feelings when learning a loved one has dementia. Following is a closer look at each:

  • Grief and loss – Grief is a response to a loss. Everyone experiences grief differently and for different lengths of time. The loss associated with dementia is related to losing the person you’ve always known, knowing they will lose their memories of you.
  • Guilt – Family members of individuals with dementia feel guilt for various reasons, including embarrassment about their loved one’s odd behaviors and losing their temper under stress. They may not want the responsibility of being a caregiver or see their loved one go into memory care.
  • Anger – Many people experience anger that their loved one has dementia, over having to be a caregiver, with their loved one’s behavior, at family members for not helping enough, or because of a lack of adequate support services.

Distress, exhaustion, fear, annoyance, anxiety, and depression are common feelings many experience when learning a loved one has dementia.

Tips for Coping After a Dementia Diagnosis

One of the most important things you can do to cope with a dementia diagnosis is to tend to your physical, emotional, and psychological needs. Prioritizing your well-being can put you in an excellent position to help your loved one and manage all that needs to be done.

Consider these tips for dealing with a parent with dementia:

  • Ask for help – Reach out to community resources and sit down with family members to determine what each person can contribute regarding time and other assistance.
  • Acknowledge your emotions – Pay attention to how you feel so you can manage your feelings healthily. It is often a good idea to contact a therapist or support group.
  • Educate yourself about dementia – Learning about dementia prepares you for what to expect and helps you plan for your loved one’s future needs.
  • Don’t lose sight of your loved one – Though your loved one will change, they still have the same emotions, feelings, and needs. Remember to see your loved one, not their symptoms.
  • Plan for the future – Especially in the early stages of dementia, your loved one can give input about their wishes for care. Ensure all paperwork is in order, including legal documents and estate planning.

While you may be able to care for your loved one in the early stages of dementia, they will eventually need around-the-clock care. Now is the time to research memory care programs.

Contact Buckner Villas to Learn About Memory Care for Your Loved One

At Buckner Villas, we understand the challenges of coping with a senior parent’s dementia diagnosis and are here to help. Contact us at 512.580.9882 or online to learn more about our memory care program and schedule a tour.