Dementia appears to be the new cancer for the 21st century. Although there are different types of dementia such as Alzheimer’s, Vascular dementia, Lewy body, etc. they all share a common problem …Memory Loss.
What do you do when you get the diagnosis? No secrets. Talking about the diagnosis helps the family support the person and allows them to be active in their care. It is common for depression to set in. Many issues must be considered such as driving, continued work, safety issues at home, etc.
Can I care for my loved one at home? You certainly can! However, keep in mind as a caregiver you must care for yourself! Caregiving can be very stressful. A senior center that specializes in memory care can be a helpful activity for those with moderate dementia. Resources such as the Alzheimer’s Association offer valuable advice for difficult behaviors and classes to increase your knowledge about the disease. Personal attendant services are available to give you the much needed caregiving relief.
What options do I have for placement? The stage of dementia will determine the most appropriate placement. In the early stages, home may be the best place. During the middle stages, a Memory Care Unit or a Residential Care Home may be appropriate. In the final stages of the dementia when more care is required, a Residential Care Home for more personalized care or a Nursing Home may be the most appropriate placement.
Advanced planning? Advanced Directives are written instructions the individual wants to have happen for future medical care if a person becomes too ill to make decisions. Power of Attorney (Medical/Financial) allows people to make decisions for your loved one when they cannot. Hospice is an end of life service. However, a person does not have to be ready to pass, to benefit from their services. Hospice is there to support your loved one in their health decline with their team of doctors, nurses, aides, chaplain’s, etc.
Finally, you are not alone. Make the choice and allow others to join and support you on your road less travelled.
Editor’s Note: Submitted by Valerie Taylor, RN, BSN, CEO and founder;Elder Placement/Referral Specialist for South Texas Alternative Choice, LLC. She may be reached at 210-239-1167, or visit her on the web at www.gostac.com