I have written a couple hubs on this, as my mom is suffering from dementia. This is what I have done and continue to do:
For my own benefit, I learn as much as I can about what she has, why she has it, what in the way of support systems including nutritional supplements and day care centers exist in her area.
She was not washing her hair, so I set up a salon appointment to have her hair washed twice a week at her health club (my stepfather drives her there three times a week so I knew it would not be inconvenient for him to get her there).
She was no longer cleaning the house, so I set up a biweekly cleaning lady to come in and spiff it up, as well as be a spy for me.
I live 1000 miles away and visit as often as I am able, but other family members are the ones on the fast track to care. My niece now goes to her house on Thursdays to take her out for dinner and get her to do projects. She needs a job and this relieves guilt my sister in law feels for not being able to get out of work to help Mom.
What I do on a regular basis:
1. Every month, I send her flowers. I found a local florist who is charming and less expensive than the FTDs and I have a standing order with him each month, to deliver Mom flowers on the first Tuesday. This is a tangible expression of how much she is loved. She needs to see and feel the love, as she forgets it exists at times and feels forgotten.
2. Every week, I send her snail mail. (Okay, I have fallen off the wagon on this since New Years, as my mother in law who lives locally is requiring care. But I did it last year and intend to begin again. This will motivate me- thanks!) I do this so that she can read my news over and over. And again, hold a tangible expression of my love for her.
3. I call her every day. Some days she is better than others, but she is always happy to hear my voice. She doesn't remember what I say to her. She repeats the same questions after I have answered them again and again. She doesn't even remember I called, if my stepdad asks her later. But in the moment of the conversation, she is there with me.
Dementia is heartbreaking. I send you hugs and courage.