Our memories help shape who we are as a person. They bring joy, inform our decision making and provide a course for the future. So receiving a diagnosis of a disease that may take much of that away can be terrifying. A future that once seemed effortless suddenly becomes uncertain. It can be hard to know where to begin to deal with the challenges that lie ahead.
Here are some tips to help ensure that your loved one, with the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, and you and your family have needs and wishes met as the disease progresses:
Learn as much as you can about Alzheimer’s disease and what changes you might expect as the disease changes. Knowing what challenges may lie ahead makes it easier to plan for and deal with them. Contact your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter and ask them for information and resources for assistance.
There will likely come a time when your loved one can no longer make decisions for him/herself; therefore, it’s important to find someone trustworthy to make both medical and financial decision on the person’s behalf. Select a power of attorney.
If the spouse is still alive and healthy, it’s likely he/she will become the primary caregiver. However, caregiving is a highly demanding role and might require the assistance of more than one person. Consider getting outside help from an in-home caregiver who has received special training in maintaining a healthy lifestyle with people living with memory loss.
As the disease progresses, anything new and strange may appear threatening to someone with memory loss. People with dementia tend to thrive on familiarity. It helps ground them and make sense out of what may be becoming a more confusing world. When someone with memory loss recognizes something – like their favorite breakfast food, a favorite knickknack, or the morning paper – the more they are able to make sense out of each day. A routine also make caregiving easier
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, meaning the symptoms will continue to worsen during the life of the disease. For many people this means at some point in the disease continuing in-home care may not be the best and safest option. Take the time now to explore senior living communities in the area to discover which ones offer memory care. Fedelta’s free senior housing referral service can help you find a caring and compassionate community that can ensure your loved one will continue to lead a life of purpose and dignity. We have extensive knowledge when it comes to Alzheimer’s and dementia care and making sure that the community or home is safe for the progressing disease
Don’t be afraid to reach out to other family members and friends for support, whether that is having them spend some time with your loved one so you can run errands, or just spending some time with you to share your feelings of how your new circumstances are affecting you. Don’t let the stress of caring for a loved one be a burden and make you feel alone. It is okay to accept help.