Dealing with a Parent’s Dementia Diagnosis

Receiving a dementia diagnosis for a parent is a challenging and emotional experience. Dementia is a progressive condition; it can affect a person’s memory, ability to reason, and daily lives, and it can be overwhelming for both the parent and their adult children. In this article, we explore the emotional and practical aspects of dealing with a parent’s dementia diagnosis, offering guidance and support for families embarking on this difficult journey.

  1. Understanding Dementia

The first step in dealing with a parent’s dementia diagnosis is to gain a clear understanding of the condition. Dementia is an overall term that includes various disorders, with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common. Educate yourself about the specific type of dementia your parent has been diagnosed with, its symptoms, and its progression.

  1. Emotional Responses

A dementia diagnosis can elicit a range of emotions for both the parent and their adult children. Common emotions include grief, shock, anger, and sadness. It’s important to recognize and validate these feelings while also seeking emotional support from friends, family, or a therapist.

  1. Open and Compassionate Communication

Communication is essential when dealing with a parent’s dementia diagnosis. Have open and honest conversations with your parent about their diagnosis, addressing any questions or concerns they may have. Be patient, empathetic, and prepared to repeat information as memory loss progresses. Discuss early the option of moving into a care home, such as the facility at, so your family member has a say in their treatment. 

  1. Creating a Care Plan

Developing a care plan is crucial to ensure your parent receives the support they need. Consider the following aspects:

  • Medical Care: Arrange for regular medical check-ups and consultations with specialists who can help manage symptoms and provide guidance.
  • Daily Routine: Establish a consistent daily routine that provides structure and familiarity for your parent. This can help reduce anxiety and confusion.
  • Safety Measures: Evaluate the home environment and make necessary modifications to enhance safety. This may include installing handrails, removing tripping hazards, and securing medications.

5. Legal and Financial Planning

Address legal and financial matters early on to ensure your parent’s affairs are in order. Consult an attorney to discuss legal documents, including a durable power of attorney and a living will. Additionally, assess your parent’s financial situation and consider long-term care options and insurance.

6. Maintaining Your Own Well-Being

It’s essential to prioritize your own well-being as a caregiver. Taking care of yourself properly allows you to provide better care for your parent. Ensure you get enough rest, eat healthily, exercise, and seek emotional support when necessary.


Dealing with a parent’s dementia diagnosis is a difficult journey filled with emotional and practical challenges. However, it’s also an opportunity for profound connection, compassion, and growth. By educating yourself about dementia, fostering open communication, creating a comprehensive care plan, addressing legal and financial matters, seeking support, and prioritizing your own well-being, you can navigate this challenging journey with love and resilience. Remember that you are not alone, and there are resources and a supportive community ready to help you provide the best possible care for your parent with dementia.

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