Aging Parents - Watching Them Grow Old & Dealing With Dementia
Just as hard as it is to say goodbye to your kids when they leave home, I am finding that watching your own parents grow elderly is even harder. Who knew life would be so emotionally challenging when it comes to the normal events that we all encounter at some point in our lives. Below are some of the things that may have you feeling concerned and even saddened by, as your parent(s) approach old age. They are also the early signs of Dementia, and should not be ignored.
- Short-Term Memory Loss - For example, my Mom has always invited my daughter and I over for dinner a couple times a month...the last time I went she was welcoming as always, but was not aware I was coming, even after her invite the evening before.
- Inability to retain new information - My Mom had five kids...so I know how difficult it can be to remember what everyone is doing and when. But when you see a rapid decline in what does get remembered...this is usually a steady slope in one direction.
- Minor Disorientation / Confusion - Random moments of disorientation should be monitored. If they become more frequent, some tasks such as driving places should not be allowed alone.
- Inability to complete simple / familiar tasks - This can be anything from putting the dishes away to driving the car and going grocery shopping. When your senior can no longer recall where things are located, it makes most tasks very difficult.
- Poor Judgement - When a simple judgement call on something like whether or not you cooked the chicken yet and it is obviously raw...you know something is wrong. At this point it becomes a health/safety issue and must be taken seriously.
- Mood Swings - When elders are still well aware of everything around them and the fact that things are slowly getting more difficult to do or remember, it can range from agitation to depression as a common side affect. Be sure you all have the proper channels to talk and get help with emotional struggles.
- Sleep Disruption - Seniors may begin to have unusual or disrupted sleeping patterns due to morning, afternoon, and even evening napping.
- Elder Care — Have you missed something important?
Here are a wide variety of comprehensive checklists to help you avoid missing something important in the care for your aging parent or spouse.
- Tip Sheets > Health in Aging
This site by the AGS Foundation has printable 'Tip Sheets' on just about anything our elders and their family/care-givers should know. From pain tips, to prevention, medications, and even how to avoid burn-out for caregivers.
Resources For Children of Aging Parents
As most elderly folks cannot or do not spend much time with computer technology, we as children can still get an abundance of resources from the internet when it comes to managing the health, safety, and relations with our aging parents. The links below are a great start to some of the Foundation pages that are available to the public.
Unfortunately, we cannot all be so lucky as to have parents who are blessed with growing old gracefully: Free of pain and dementia in every form would make a perfect world. Seek help if you are feeling overwhelmed, as you are never alone. The bond between parent and child will always be a strong one, so keep in mind during these difficult times that it all started with your parent who was once your age and younger. They love you even after dementia, and they are most-likely not judging you when you are there for them to help.