There are approximately 35.6 million people who have dementia worldwide. Irritability, memory loss, and personality changes are just a handful of symptoms associated with this degenerative disease.

If you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with some form of dementia, you’re most likely feeling lost and unsure of what to do next.

Nothing can prepare you for what’s to come. But after years of mom or dad looking after you, it’s time to do the same for them as they age and provide them with the best care possible.

From nursing homes to assisted living, there are ways to provide optimal care for the senior citizen in your life. Here are just a few.

Nursing homes

A nursing home has its pros and cons. Not many people can afford to have their parents stay at a full-time community for the elderly. The approximate annual cost is about one hundred grand out of pocket.

But if you take advantage of veteran benefits or services like Medicaid, you might be able to find a perfectly affordable living situation.

Nursing homes provide you with peace of mind. Everything from meals to medication is handled by a professional staff 24/7. You can even visit whenever you’d like. Nursing homes are an excellent option if you’re working a full-time job and are unable to provide the quality of care you would like on your own.

At home care

At home care is another option that combines the familiarity of the senior’s home with all the benefits of full-time care. Instead of moving your parent away and into a nursing home, you can hire a caretaker to make sure they stay safe. At home care is also cheaper than assisted living, so it may be a more feasible option.

Make notes and labels

You can also help by making a few modifications to your senior’s home yourself. Someone with dementia is likely to get confused, so making notes or reminders is a perfect way to assist them when you’re not there. It can be something as simple as writing down instructions on how to turn on the television and pasting it to the remote.

Connect with your loved one, often

Share photos, stories, and visit when you can. Spending quality time with your loved one is the best way to do your part.

Watch your tone

When you speak, you want to avoid the high pitch tone you’d usually take when communicating with small children. Don’t talk down to your loved one, and avoid speaking in a condescending tone. Instead, use an uplifting, clear, and cheery voice. Make sure to use nonverbal cues, by smiling and maintaining eye contact as well.

Join a support group

This is something both you and your loved one who has dementia will have to cope with. While we learned a few ways to help care for the senior citizen in your life, you also want to make sure you’re taken care of too. Join a support group if you find yourself struggling with the reality of losing a loved one to dementia.

The tough road ahead

These are just a few ways you can prepare for the tough road ahead. Of course, nothing can truly prepare you for these challenges, but by joining a support group, often communicating with your loved one and finding the perfect living situation for your mom or dad, it can help ease the burden of your situation.

You’ll feel better knowing that you’re doing your best to provide your family member with the best care possible.