What To Expect With a Parent With Dementia

If you have a parent who is in mid to late-stage dementia, you may find yourself struggling with a variety of behavioral issues. There may be a lot of emotional outbursts, paranoia, and confusion resulting in high stress. 

One of the most challenging things about dementia is every day can be a new adventure. One day you may feel like things are improving, and the next day, you feel like you've taken ten steps back.

However, by learning more about what challenges to expect, they will come as less of a surprise to you. 

In order to best deal with this disease, take a look at some of the things you will likely experience. 


Dealing with dementia can be very confusing for your parent.  There may be moments when their confusion transforms into aggression.  The most important thing to remember is that your family member is not intentionally trying to be difficult. 

Their reaction is frequently a flight or flight response, which stems from pure fear.  

Just like a small child may act out with violence or screaming, a dementia patient may be capable of the same.  Some people find that pets make great companions for struggling seniors. 


Your loved one may have very strong opinions about how they want things to play out. They may protest about certain activities or make requests that aren’t possible to fulfill.  Rather than getting frustrated or flustered, try to explain to them in the calmest way that you can, why their demands aren't reasonable.  

Help guide them through rules or policies that they don't understand by using simple and assertive language. 

Getting into an argument or attempting to over-explain will likely cause a scene.  The most important thing you can do is stay calm. Their condition is beyond their control; however,  you have the power to keep your emotions in check. 

Lack Of Judgement

People with dementia have difficulties drawing conclusions.  They may wrongly accuse people of things they aren't guilty of. Remember, again; this is a result of the deterioration of their brain caused by the disease. 

Their poor judgment is a result of delusions due to their illness.  Trying to argue with them won't have any positive effect. 


It's not uncommon for dementia patients to suddenly wonder where they are or what's going on.  As their memory begins to deteriorate more and more or they may resort back to a period of their life if that doesn't exist anymore.  

You may have to repeat several times the reality of where they are and use physical reminders like photographs.  It can be painful watching them forget who they are; however, try not to take it personally. 

Even though you may be feeling helpless, it's essential not to make it mean anything other than they have an illness.