Caring for an aging parent is a complex task. When dementia care is part of the picture, it becomes exponentially more difficult. Cognitive and behavioral changes from dementia can occur unpredictably and parents may resist care.

If you are a caregiver for a senior with dementia, the most important thing is to first understand the disease. Although Alzheimer’s disease is just one type of dementia, it is the one with the most pronounced stages. Alzheimer’s is a progressive condition, meaning symptoms increase in severity as time goes on.

People with Alzheimer’s typically live four to eight years after the disease is confirmed, though some may live with the disease for up to two decades. If you are familiar with these stages it will help you to identify the behaviors your loved one is exhibiting, learn how to address them, and update his or her primary care physician.