How do you role reverse and become a parent to your parent who has dementia?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Thank you for all your answers. I am grateful for all the information I can get I just took over the full time caregiving for my mom 2 months ago when her husband died. I have had issues in the past, everything in my life has prepared me for this time.
Helpful Answer (0)

Becoming a parental figure to your parent with dementia happens naturally as the disease progresses. For example, eventually your parent will become incontinent and you will be changing their incontinence briefs ("diapers", although I don't like to call them that). Cleaning them and helping them get back up. It's a very parental thing to do.

Your parent may get to the point where he/she can't feed him/herself and you'll need to help feed your parent.

You'll be giving your parent a bath or shower much like parents do when they have a little one.

An elderly parent with dementia is often unable to show good judgement and we have to step into the role of "parent" when it comes to our own parents poor judgement. We may need to put our foot down or to forbid our parent from doing something that seems perfectly logical to them when in fact it's not.

These are just a few examples. The roles reverse. I don't know if you have children but if you do I'm sure you remember feeding them and helping them walk and changing their diapers, etc. We do these things for our parents when they grow old and can't take care of themselves anymore.

I'm not saying that our elderly parents are like children that need to be cared for. I don't care for that comparison and find it disrespectful and inaccurate. But I wanted to answer your question as to how do we become like the parent to our elderly parents. Feeding a 1-year-old, bathing her, helping her walk is so different than feeding an 80-year-old, bathing her, and helping her walk. It's apples and oranges. But stepping into that parental role is the same.
Helpful Answer (0)

I haven't had to do that, but I could one day. I can imagine it is difficult.

I have had to take the parental role with my cousin, who is 11 years older than me. I try not to boss her, but let her still make as many decisions as she can, such as which flavor she wants, which room she wants to sit in, what colors she likes, etc.

I treat her with respect, but I have to insist on certain things for her own safety and welfare. Sometimes, she would get upset with me, but she would usually forget about it within minutes.

When something needs to happen, I would just calmly say this is what we are going to do and go about it. I didn't leave it open for discussion. There is no need to debate or argue, since they don't have the ability to understand issues and have little to no judgment. Plus, they will forget about it soon afterwards.

When we are at the doctor's office, the staff still address her as an adult and the doctor always asked for her input. This is for respect for her and I allow her to speak first and then I will add what I need to at the end. Most of what she said makes little sense, but we listen and give her positive feedback.

Whenever she says she feels bad about something I tell her she's a super person, who has gone through a lot and that I admire her. I'm not sure how much she understands, but it makes her feel good in the moment. I still treat her like a adult though and tell her she's the most important resident in her Memory Care unit. I tell her they are there to serve her. It makes her feel least for a few minutes. She forgets it soon afterwards, so we have to live for each minute and if that makes her feel good, then I see no harm.
Helpful Answer (0)

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter