When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer's, you may have a lot of worries or feelings — and that's okay! This life-changing diagnosis affects both patients and families. We've created this blog that we hope will help you navigate those feelings and learn what you can do to support your beloved one.
In addition, we'll provide helpful information about our specialized memory care program. It aims to offer personalized care and assistance, helping people to understand their diagnosis while navigating their emotions and providing support throughout the journey.
Emotional and Practical Considerations for Alzheimer's Caregivers
Alzheimer's Diagnosis Can Trigger Intense Emotions
You and every family member are going through various emotions, such as sadness, anger, denial, and fear. Everyone needs to process the diagnosis in their way and at their speed. Give yourself and your loved ones the time and space to work through their emotions. Seek support from family members, friends, or other trusted individuals. If you feel overwhelmed, speak with your doctor or a counselor.
Learn all You Can About Alzheimer's Disease
Learning about Alzheimer's can help you understand what to expect as the disease progresses and what to do next. The Alzheimer's Association provides information for patients, caregivers, and families, such as how professionals diagnose Alzheimer's and how the disease affects the brain. The memory care professionals at Vista Springs can also help you understand your family member's diagnosis and care options.
Acknowledge Alzheimer's Impact on Abilities and Behaviors
Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia can cause brain changes that affect how your loved one functions from one day to the next. Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, meaning these changes will become more profound. Learning about Alzheimer's can help you maintain realistic expectations of your family member's abilities.
Remember that your loved one will likely realize they are losing their independence as the disease progresses. Talk with your family member and ask how you can help them maintain their sense of control.
Above all, be tolerant and understanding — although this may not be easy sometimes.
Please Feel Free to Get Help as Needed.
As you and your family progress through an Alzheimer's diagnosis, your loved one will likely need more help with personal care, medication management, safety, and routine tasks such as shopping, meal preparation, housekeeping, bill payment, and transportation.
Assess & Address the Safety of Your Loved One's home
People with Alzheimer's disease have unique safety concerns. To prevent stress and potentially dangerous situations, evaluate your loved one's environment for safety. Start by thinking about your family member's health and abilities, such as whether they wander at night, can safely climb stairs, and tend to forget food on the stove.
Address any safety issues in the home. Install grab bars in the bathroom, for example, and lock up potentially hazardous products or electrical appliances. Install monitoring devices in your loved one's bedroom if they wander at night, and avoid clutter in areas where people walk.
Please Find Out What Your Family Member Wants
Making life-ending or life-sustaining decisions without knowing what your loved one wants can be exceptionally difficult during a time that is already stressful. Discuss with your family to determine what they want if they become seriously ill and need life-sustaining treatment, such as a feeding tube, intubation, or a blood transfusion.
Ensure That All Financial and Legal Documents Are in Order
These documents may include:
- A durable power of attorney: This allows the assigned person to make decisions on behalf of the person with Alzheimer's when they can no longer manage their affairs.
- Advance directive: Also known as health care power of attorney, the advance directive allows the assigned person to make medical decisions when a loved one can no longer make them. Findings may include choosing doctors, long-term care, and consenting to specific treatments.
- The standard will: Name the executor and beneficiaries of the patient's estate.
- A living will: This document details what extraordinary life-saving measures your loved one wants.
- Passwords and IDs for online accounts: Make a master list, including passwords for banking, email, subscriptions, car payments, life insurance, medical portals, and social media, along with smartphones, computers, and other electronic devices.
Create and Stick to a Daily Routine.
Maintaining a daily routine can help people with Alzheimer's disease get through their day with greater peace and security. This can help reduce agitation and troublesome behaviors: place clocks, calendars, and other orienting items around the house.
Memory Care Program
At our Memory Care Program, we understand that you only want the best for your loved one. That's why we offer personalized care and assistance for those with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to providing quality care that is compassionate and effective.
We recognize that each person with Alzheimer's is unique, so we customize our care plans to meet their individual needs. Our services include 24-hour care, personalized care plans, stimulating activities, medication management, socialization opportunities, and nutritional support.
We know that transitioning to a memory care program can be challenging for families, but we're here to support you through the process. We'll help you make the best decision for your loved one's care.
And above all, it is important to recall other resources and support groups online to help you process and understand the journey for your loved one. Our online knowledge center offers more information about Alzheimer's and the care associated with this disease to get started.