Your dad is one of the six million with Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S. As he can’t be alone, you work from home and take care of him. One of the biggest challenges you face falls on appointment days. Dental exams are the worst.
When he was healthy, he didn’t like going to see his dentist. As Alzheimer’s worsens, it’s almost impossible to get him into the dentist’s office. Take the stress out of dental check-ups using these tips.
Tell the Dentist
Make sure the dentist has noted your dad has Alzheimer’s on the front of their file or in the electronic records. If possible, see if there is a hygienist on staff who has experience with Alzheimer’s. It helps if the person has experienced Alzheimer’s mood swings.
You don’t actually have to leave early, but your dad doesn’t need to know that. The last time you tried to get him to the dentist, it took him two hours to shower, get dressed, brush his teeth, and get into the car.
Two hours before you’re supposed to leave, tell him you’re going out together and that he needs to get ready. Don’t tell him he has a dental exam if you know it will stress him. Make it something fun that you know he’ll want to do.
Be Prepared With Distractions
Have things you know will distract your dad if he gets upset. If he picks at his skin when he’s stressed, bring a fidget spinner or puzzle cube. Pictures of his grandchildren or family pets can be a great distraction.
You might find it helps to put on music you know he loves. If he’s a Louis Armstrong fan, have your phone loaded with some of his hits. Picture books can also be a great way to distract your dad and help calm him down.
Follow the Appointment With a Reward
Once your dad’s completed the dental exam, follow it with a reward. Take him to lunch or stop and get a dish of ice cream at his favorite scoop shop. He may not remember this part of the trip next time, but he may remember it. It’s hard to tell what he remembers and what he doesn’t.
Arrange Alzheimer’s Care Services
Alzheimer’s care is an important part of caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s. Your dad requires support, and you help as much as you can, but it’s exhausting. Balance your dad’s care needs with self-care by taking regular breaks.
When you arrange to have caregivers helping with Alzheimer’s care, you’re able to practice self-care. Caregivers can help him with oral care, meals, cueing, and toileting while you visit friends, run errands, or have time alone.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in West University Place, TX, contact the caring staff at Personal Caregiving Services at 832-564-0338. Providing Care in Houston, Bellaire, West University Place, Katy, and Sugar Land and the surrounding areas.
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