A dementia diagnosis is heartbreaking for both the parent and their family. It’s a challenging time for both parties, as they plan for care in the present and future. But, what step comes first in this process? Here is how to talk to a parent with dementia.
Communicating With Dementia
If you have yet to place your parent(s) with dementia into a loving assisted living or memory care facility, now is the time to make that a priority. Don’t take control of the task yourself, though. There needs to be communication between loved ones and the parent about future living arrangements. Ask about your parent’s preferences. Has he/she had any facilities recommended recently? Provide input to go along with your parent’s wishes, but do not present them in a pushy manner.
Avoid any communications surrounding some sort of a power struggle, either with yourself and the parent or remainder of the family. You’ll want to keep these discussions civil yet serious at the same time. Screaming or raising voices of any kind can make this a hostile situation. It could also damage relationships in both the short and long term.
Avoiding distractions is one of the most important things to be mindful of during discussions. Take advantage of any and all moments that you have your parent’s full attention. Talks needs to remain focused. Perhaps setting a specific time and place to talk about future plans is the best course of action. That way, all parties can prepare talking points to work towards a positive solution.
Dementia is a serious diagnosis, and needs to be treated as such. Often with these talks, less is more. Stick to the basics and lay out options for future living arrangements. Another key here is asking simple and direct questions. Keep the questions short, as well. Giving your parent too much to think about all at once is not recommended.
How NOT To Talk About Dementia
Use the approaches discussed early and make sure to avoid going off-script with these discussions. Quizzing a parent is always a bad idea. Badgering a loved one about remembering or forgetting something can seem confrontational. Keep your temper in check, even if the conversation does not go as expected. Anger will generally only be met with more hostility. Talking down to a parent with dementia is another bad idea during these conversations. This communication needs to be light but focused the entire time.
Independent, Assisted Living And Memory Care
Luckily for residents of Arizona, there are many facilities that offer all three services. Canyon Winds Retirement Community is one such place that features independent, assisted living and memory care services. Most dementia patients should opt toward either the assisted living or memory care options. If the case of dementia is advanced, memory care offers 24/7 staff, which is the best case scenario for patients with more needs than most assisted living residents.