Four Important Tasks When Your Parent Has Dementia

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Almost everyone has been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease; it is the sixth leading cause of death in world. Getting an Alzheimer’s diagnoses can be difficult to cope with. Of the ten most common causes of death, Alzheimer’s is the only one that modern medicine offers no way to prevent, slow the progression of, or cure. At best, there is medication is available that reduces the symptoms of memory loss in the early dementia stages, but ultimately, patients with types of dementia like Alzheimer’s will need to consider options like memory care facilities as their physical condition declines.

Being a loved one of someone with dementia can be heartbreaking. Finding your loved one help with Alzheimer’s care is overwhelming, especially as you also come to terms with the diagnoses yourself. Taking the step to review memory care facilities is extremely difficult; it’s hard to acknowledge that your loved one needs more help than you can provide. However, getting them involved with memory care facilities who support them while they are still lucid enough to participate in making the best selection will be best for everyone involved. While reviewing memory care facilities, it is important to think about the following things:

  1. Get your paperwork in order.
    Before taking any big steps towards long term care for Alzheimers patients, you should take some time to organize your paperwork. It is best if you set up power of attorney for both the medical decisions and the financial affairs of the patient while they still have the capacity to fill out the paperwork themselves. If it is beneficial to do so, you can designate separate people to manage the medical decisions and oversee the bank accounts and estate of the patient. As the disease progresses, it will be more difficult to get the appropriate documents in place if they are needed urgently. Take the time to have the tough conversations and take the steps early after the diagnoses.
  2. Be realistic about the needs of the patient.

    If your loved one’s dementia makes them struggle to communicate, putting them in a retirement home with residents to function at a higher level might make them feel isolated and exacerbate their condition. While looking for assisted living facilities for your loved one, have honest conversations with their medical providers and social workers involved with their care. Ask about what needs they have and what their short-term outlook is, to help identify the senior living setup that supports their well-being the most.
  3. Be choosey about memory care facilities.
    The assisted living facility that your loved one lives at will have a big impact on their well-being. Take time to carefully review potential facilities before making a selection. Be cautious of assisted care facilities that seem really pushy with the sales pitch; these facilities may be more profit-driven than they are advocates for your loved one. Make sure you pay a visit to the facility several times a day, to ensure you aren’t just getting their best side. Follow your gut while talking to care-givers who will be tending to your loved one. Do they seem friendly and compassionate, or do they approach taking care of your family member like it’s just a job? Doing your due diligence while scoping out assisted living facilities will save you the trouble of landing the wrong one.
  4. Read the fine print.
    One last step you should take before signing the dotted line with an assisted living facility is thoroughly investigating their policies. A few things to consider are:

    • Will you be able to visit your family member anytime you want, or are you resisted to “visiting hours?”
    • Are your required to commit to a contract? If your loved one isn’t happy or well suited to the culture of the assisted living facility once they are moved in, will you be able to move them to a better environment without penalty?
    • Is the care taking staff rotated or do residents get dedicated staff that contribute to stability and routine?

    The more questions you ask, the better prepared you will be for the care your loved one will get.

Do you have any advice on helping a loved one with dementia? Please share below!

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