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How to best help a parent with dementia

Dementia is a serious brain disorder that is shockingly common. Approximately 5.7 million Americans suffer from the disease, reports the Alzheimer's Association, and projections indicate that number will rise to 14 million by 2050. 

Roughly one out of every three senior citizens in the United States will die with some form of dementia. That means many children, like you, will need to deal with parents slowly succumbing to the illness. Whether you have your parents living at home with you or in an assisted care facility, there are many steps to take to provide parents with the care they need during this trying time. 

Understand you will not be a perfect caregiver

No one is perfect, and it is vital to understand you will make mistakes when dealing with someone with dementia. It is perfectly normal, and it is normal for you to feel angry or flustered when a parent cannot answer basic questions. You are not a bad person for feeling angry. You need to learn to forgive yourself and to recognize you are only human. 

Consider becoming a parent's guardian

In the event a parent is already too far gone, it becomes harder to create or modify an estate plan. One course of action at this point is to become a parent's legal guardian. This will allow you to make all financial and healthcare decisions on behalf of the parent.  

Accept help when others offer

You may not want to inconvenience other family members or friends, but when these people offer to help, you should not refuse. Even something simple such as bringing over a meal for you and your parent can help immensely and take a chore off your shoulders. Additionally, you may want to think of hiring a caregiver. Most importantly, you do not want to wait too long to seek help because at that point, it may become so much harder to find it. 

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At Hodges Law Firm, we handle a wide range of legal issues for clients throughout the Atlanta area, including elder law, estate planning, probate, Medicaid planning and protection, asset protection, litigation, and business law and services. We are knowledgeable in the law and understand the real life implications of legal actions.