family picture | Home Care for Dad and Mom

6 Steps for Home Care for Dad and Mom: Without Losing Your Mind

When you first hear or find out a person you love has dementia it changes your world.

You might be feeling lost, lonely and afraid. 

You might be in denial that something is wrong. You may be thinking it is “old age” or “the doctor’s are wrong”, or “it just CAN’T be dementia.”

It may have taken you a few YEARS to actually get a “diagnosis”, even though you have known for a while SOMETHING isn’t right. 

I know for me, the first sign that SOMETHING was wrong with my dad was almost 3 years ago. 

He got scammed…

Then he forgot to go to work…

Then he started making mistakes at work that caused him trouble…

Taking care of a parent with dementia can be a very challenging and very emotional experience. I know. I have felt it too. 

It's not easy to watch the person who raised you slowly slip away, and it can be even harder to commit to keeping them at home or trying to decide whether to place them in a care facility. 

But if you've decided to keep your parents at home, don't worry - with the right attitude, a little bit of planning, and a sense of humor, you can make it happen.

senior with daughter Home Care for Dad and Mom

Home Care for Dad and Mom: 6 Essential Steps

Step 1: Make a Commitment (and Stick to It!):

First things first, you need to commit to keeping dad (or mom- or in my case BOTH) at home. But don’t worry, my dear friend, we will figure it out together. The first step of deciding to keep a parent with dementia is a good and noble and right desire. 

And it is possible, when you take the right steps!

Step 2: Take Care of Yourself by Finding a Community:

Have you ever taken a long flight? If you are anything like me, you may ignore the flight attendants at the beginning of the flight. But for today, I want you to pay attention to something we all know, but if you are like me- tend to forget! 

When you are flying with a person who needs help, you are instructed (should there be any trouble on the flight!) to FIRST take care of you and then the person you are helping (like your child). 

Why do all airlines instruct us to do this? Because if you don’t take care of YOU first, the person needing help is not taken care of AT ALL!. 
I know you are probably thinking: “How do I do that, Lizette?” or “You don’t know my situation, my mom is so hard to deal with.” or what I used to believe: “I don’t have time to take care of myself”.

We start by joining a community of like minded daughters of dementia, all on the same journey as you. For a place to find community, you can join our next monthly workshop here:

Step 3: Find clarity in caring for a person with dementia.

Now, I know that sounds really cryptic! What on earth can it mean to find clarity in caring for a person with dementia! 

Have you ever tried to read a book in the dark? Or, if you are like me (blind as a bat without your glasses or contacts!) tried to drive or read without your “eyes”? 

Have you read Mark 8:23-25 where Jesus opened the blind man’s eyes? 

“Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, “Do you see anything?”  And he looked up and said, “I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around.” Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly.

When you first start learning about dementia, you may be like the blind man who at first could not see clearly, until Jesus laid hands on him a second time, giving him the clarity he needed to really see. 

For most of us, finding clarity about dementia starts with basic education about dementia. What it is, what it isn’t, how it progresses etc. 

The problem is USUALLY that  is not enough. It isn’t that there is a lack of information.

The problem is that the information is kind of overwhelming! And it sometimes feels like you are trying to take a drink of water from a fire hydrant. 

To really see clearly, or to gain clarity about dementia, you need a system or a framework through which to view dementia. 

But, don’t despair! There is hope. We do a monthly workshop on how to deal with dementia, without difficulty, so you too can see clearly and gain clarity about what to do next! You can sign up for our next workshop here this is where we teach you an easy framework for a life of dementia without difficulty. 

Step 4: Find certainty in your dementia journey:

Have you ever wondered if you are making the right decision? It could be about anything. Where to go out for dinner, what to wear, or who to marry?

How do you KNOW for certain that  what you are doing is the right thing? 
me, it always starts with Biblical principles. And all my decisions stem from that point on. Not perfectly, for sure, but that is where I start. 

How do you find certainty in a dementia journey? 

You need a way to learn how to implement the right strategies, at the right time, with the right information and for the right reasons! 

When you have certainty, because you are following Biblical principles in helping your parents with dementia stay at home, you become resilient.

Join our next workshop here to learn how to have certainty in your dementia journey. 

Step 5: Become capable in your dementia journey:

Many of my clients over the years have told me that they do not feel capable of taking care of their parents with dementia at home. 

I have also felt that way. 

But that was before I looked at the 1000’s of people over the past almost 30 years who WERE capable. 

I started looking for common characteristics of successful care partners of people with dementia.

And do you want to know a secret? Do you want to know what I found out was THE most important characteristic of someone who was successful and capable in their dementia journey? 

The successful daughters (and sons!) of dementia all became capable in their journey because they learned to modify things when things stopped working.

Or they maintained what WAS working. 

This was the most important characteristic my capable daughter of dementia all had in common! How can you feel more capable? Sign up for our next workshop here where we teach you how to modify or maintain your dementia strategies. 

Step 6: Become confident in your dementia journey:

This is my favorite step of all! When we have taken the other 5 steps, we become confident in our dementia journey. 

Why are we confident? 

Because we have gone on a journey where each step of the way, we were following a proven framework to help our parents with dementia stay at home, while still thriving ourselves! Learn how to do so by joining our next workshop here

In Conclusion:

We have taken these 6 steps:

1.  We made a commitment to keep our parents with dementia at home. But we are not willing to sacrifice our own life, health or relationships in the process so…

2. We found a community of like minded daughters of dementia who are all on the same journey with the same commitment of keeping their parents with dementia at home so…

3. We found clarity in the dementia process by educating ourselves about dementia, using Biblical principles to form all our decisions about how to care for our parents with dementia so…

4. We could have certainty that we are doing the right things, at the right time for all the right reasons so…

5. We can feel like we are capable of caring for our parents with dementia at home so…

6. We are confident daughters of dementia that have not sacrificed our own life, health or relationships in the process AND we are confident that we have honored our parents in the process!

Read More:

One Mistake A Dementia Caregiver Makes By Not Traveling With Kathy Smith Shoaf

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About the author

“Think Different” Dementia’s owner, Lizette Cloete, OTR/L graduated as an Occupational Therapist from the University of Pretoria in South Africa in 1992. Lizette has almost 30 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist in a variety of settings, the latest being in the home health environment. She enjoys teaching on the topic of dementia, most recently presenting at a national conference on the topic “Dementia Made Simple”.

Disclaimer: These blogs, videos and any work done by Lizette Cloete OT, as a Member of Think Different Dementia, LLC, is given only as educational content and consulting work. This does not create an Occupational Therapist-Patient Relationship. The educational content and consulting work performed should not be considered medical treatment as an Occupational Therapist. The consulting work does not take the place of medical work normally performed by a licensed Occupational Therapist. Please consult a licensed Occupational Therapist for medical advice.

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