Dealing with Aging Parents with Dementia: Tips, Support, and Advice

December 4, 2023
Giselle Bardwell
Dementia is a complex and emotionally challenging condition that affects millions of elderly individuals worldwide, making it a crucial topic to address for adult children caring for their aging parents. As our parents age, it is natural for them to experience a decline in their physical and cognitive abilities. However, receiving a dementia diagnosis for a loved one can have a profound emotional impact on both the person affected and their family members. Dementia is more than just occasional forgetfulness - it is a gradual decline in cognitive function that can result in memory loss, impaired judgment, communication problems, and behavioral changes.

Dealing with aging parents with dementia can often lead to feelings of helplessness, frustration, and grief. Caring for a loved one with this progressive and incurable condition can be a daunting and overwhelming task, requiring patience, understanding, and a strong support system. In this comprehensive guide, we offer valuable insights, practical tips, and supportive resources for those facing this challenging journey. From understanding the early signs of dementia to learning how to cope with emotional difficulties, our aim is to empower you with the knowledge and confidence needed to provide the best care possible for your loved ones.

Our goal is to help you navigate the complex journey of caregiving for aging parents with dementia with resilience, empathy, and compassion. We believe that by equipping you with the right tools, support, and insights, you can help your loved ones maintain a sense of dignity and quality of life, even as they face the challenges that come with cognitive decline.

Recognizing the Early Signs of Dementia in Aging Parents

One of the most essential aspects of dealing with aging parents with dementia is recognizing the early signs and symptoms. While dementia may progress differently in every individual, being aware of these signs allows you to intervene early and seek professional help. Some common symptoms to look out for include:
  • Frequent memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Difficulty in managing daily tasks
  • Changes in mood and personality
  • Challenges with communication, such as speech and comprehension issues
  • Confusion or disorientation, especially in familiar surroundings
If you notice these changes in your aging parent, it is vital to consult a healthcare professional for further assessment and diagnosis. Our BrightStar Care Cleveland is here to offer in-home care guidance for patients with Alzheimer's, dementia, or declining cognitiave abilities. Together, we can create a care plan tailored to your loved one's needs.

Creating a Safe and Supportive Environment

As dementia progresses, your loved one's cognitive and physical abilities will decline, making it crucial to create a safe, comfortable, and supportive environment for them at home. Consider the following steps to ensure their well-being:
  • Minimize clutter and keep the space organized to avoid confusion and accidents
  • Ensure adequate lighting throughout the home to prevent disorientation
  • Install grab bars in bathrooms, showers, and other areas where they might require assistance
  • If your parent is still mobile, provide non-slippery floor coverings and easily accessible walking paths
  • Utilize safety devices, such as alarms and locks, to prevent wandering and accidents
  • Keep important items, such as medications, eyeglasses, and personal care items, easily accessible and organized
Depending on their level of condition, your loved one may require 24-hour in-home care to monitor their activity and ensure their safety. Being able to stay at home helps patients with memory issues and a 24-home care service allows them to remain in the comfort of their own home.

Managing Behavioral Changes and Communication Challenges

Dementia often presents various behavioral changes and communication challenges, which can make caregiving difficult and stressful. Below are some strategies to help you navigate these issues:
  1. Remain Calm and Patient: Approach your loved one with empathy and understanding, even when dealing with challenging behaviors. Speak slowly and clearly, using simple language and maintaining eye contact.
  2. Redirect and Distract: When your parent becomes agitated or uncooperative, try to divert their attention to a different task or engage them in a calming activity.
  3. Use Visual Cues: Utilize visual aids, such as pictures or objects, to help your loved one understand what is being communicated.
  4. Avoid Confrontation: Confronting a person with dementia may escalate the problem. Instead, try to validate their feelings and look for ways to address the underlying emotional need.
  5. Maintain Routines: Familiar routines can provide a sense of comfort and stability, reducing anxiety and agitation.

Legal and Financial Preparation

As your aging parent's cognitive abilities decline, it is essential to ensure their legal and financial matters are in order. The following steps can help secure their future and provide peace of mind:
  1. Advance Directives: Assist your loved one in completing advance healthcare directives, such as a living will or power of attorney for healthcare, to ensure their medical wishes are respected.
  2. Durable Power of Attorney: A durable power of attorney for finances allows a trusted individual to manage your parent's financial matters when they are no longer able to do so themselves.
  3. Wills and Trusts: Ensure your loved one's will is updated and that any trusts are properly established.
  4. Long-Term Care Insurance: Review your parent's long-term care insurance policy to understand its coverage and limitations.
  5. Financial Organization: Keep important legal and financial documents organized and accessible, and consider consulting with a professional for expert guidance.


Dealing with aging parents with dementia is an emotionally challenging journey that requires patience, understanding, and support. By recognizing the early signs of dementia, providing a safe environment, managing behavioral changes, and preparing legally and financially, you can ensure that your loved one receives the care and assistance they need while maintaining their dignity and quality of life. Just as importantly, remember to seek and accept support for yourself, as caregiving can take a toll on your own emotional and mental well-being. By equipping yourself with the right knowledge, resources, and outlook, you can help your loved one navigate the complexities of dementia while forging a strong bond in the process.

At BrightStar Care Cleveland, we understand that every client has unique needs, which is why we offer a wide range of services to fit your specific situation. Whether you need help with daily tasks, companion care, or skilled nursing care we have the expertise and experience to provide the best care possible. Call our expert care team at 440.613.1500 or fill out the contact form via our website to start creating a tailored care plan for your loved one. Together, we can ensure they are as comfortable as possible.