elderly woman hugging her granddaughter

Tips on Caring for Elderly Parents with Dementia

Caring for elderly parents with dementia gets harder as the condition worsens, but there are a number of steps you can take to ease your path. At Surprenant & Beneski, P.C., our elder law attorneys have extensive experience helping residents of Southeastern Massachusetts navigate this complex process, not only in terms of legal matters but in finding placements for patients who require ongoing nursing care and finding ways dementia patients can be cared for comfortably at home.

Our Elder Law Attorneys Will Prepare the Necessary Legal Documents

Getting certain legal documents created and signed is critical when it comes to elderly parents with dementia so that you can help them with their finances and their healthcare as time passes. It is always better to have the documents on hand before your need them rather than lack them when the urgent need arises. The following documents are invaluable:

  • Last Will and Testament to name beneficiaries and a personal representative
  • Durable Power of Attorney to name the person to take care of legal and financial matters
  • Health Care Proxy to name the person who will make healthcare decisions when the patient cannot
  • HIPAA Release Form to allow family members to access medical information
  • Advanced Directive to state what end-of-life care the patient wants or doesn’t want

You will be grateful you have these documents prepared ahead of time so that you can follow your parent’s wishes.

We Can Also Help You Prepare for MassHealth Services

As soon as your parent is diagnosed with dementia, our lawyers will discuss future care options with you, including MassHealth (Medicaid) and a Medicaid Frail Elder Waiver (FEW). The former will pay for a nursing home if your parent is low income or has prepared for this eventuality by establishing trusts; the latter will provide for your parent to receive the necessary healthcare at home. Both require that your parent meet age and monetary requirements. We will walk you through them.

When You Provide the Care for Your Elderly Parents With Dementia

Many adult children want to provide care for their elderly parents themselves, though most realize it is a tough job. Often, two or more caregivers taking turns is best because a patient with progressive dementia may require round-the-clock personal care. There are several kinds of care necessary for elderly parents with dementia, including:

  • Feeding
  • Changing
  • Transportation
  • Companionship
  • Laundry
  • Medication administration

Caring for elderly parents with dementia is a full-time job and can be very taxing — physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Caregivers of Elderly Parents With Dementia Need Care, Too

No one can successfully care for an elderly parent with dementia without support. If you are planning to be a caregiver, you should [1] consult with public and private agencies about services for the aging [2] look for support groups for caregivers [3] explore educational courses for caregivers of dementia patients, and [4] check out adult daycare centers. You will find an amazing number of resources once you start looking. Your local library may be a good place to start. You may also want to get in touch with AARP and the Alzheimer’s Association

Helpful Tips to Make Caregiving Go as Smoothly as Possible

Following routines is reassuring to dementia patients and their caregivers alike. Try to keep to a regular schedule for waking, dressing, eating, bathing, napping, medications, planning games or reading aloud, and listening to music or TV programs that are enjoyable to both parties. 

Make sure the home is safe (e.g. no slippery scatter rugs, bar, and a seat in the shower). Be gentle and avoid startling your parent. Above all, try to be patient. Remember that your parent took care of you this way when you were a baby and imagine how confusing and frightening it is to forget basic details of your life. Make the patient’s surroundings as familiar and pleasant as possible.

Contact Our Experienced Elder Law Attorneys Today

We have offered legal advice and advocacy about this topic many times before and our frequent encounters with elderly patients and their families have increased our knowledge about dementia as well as our compassion for all of its victims. Contact us now; we are eager to help you and your elderly parent in any way we can.