Tips For Caring For An Aging Parent Who Is Diagnosed With Dementia Or Alzheimer's Disease
When one of your parents is diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's Disease, it can turn your entire world upside down. Not only do you begin the grieving process regarding a beloved caretaker from your earliest memories, the other part of you is hit with the realities of tomorrow and how lives are changed by the news. Caring for an elderly parent in cognitive decline requires ensuring their needs are met, as well as yours.
Although you may still be reeling from the discovery or confirmation by a doctor that your parent is suffering, the first thing you need to do is find a support group or two. Discussing your situation with others will be invaluable on every level. From the initial suggestions of local services and relief strategies to the emotional support you will receive, the benefits of carving this time for you will pay off.
Being a caregiver for the parent who was once your role model and caregiver can be traumatizing. Caring for your health and wellness is essential. Otherwise, you could suffer from depression, weight gain or other health issues.
Yoga is an excellent choice because you can learn to meditate and keep your body in shape at the same time. Take a dance course, walk during your lunch breaks or find some other form of physical activity to do each day. Vary your days such as yoga on Monday and Thursday, tai chi Tuesday and Saturday, and walking the other days of the week.
Additionally, once you are living under the same roof, you need to plan outings for you and for the family to get away sometimes. Rather than being thoughtless or selfish, everyone needs time to refresh and relax. You can go to a spa or take a walk in the park once in a while the family could visit the mall, see a movie or even plan a weekend trip to a semi-local destination with lots of fun choices.
An otherwise healthy person can live for many years with a debilitating mental decline. You need to begin planning for the near and long-term futures to ease stress and bumps in the road further down the line. Before your parent declines any further, legal documents including power-of-attorney, living wills, and life termination choices will need to be updated. If the parent has specific wishes regarding which family members should or should not provide care and make decisions on their behalf further down the line, now is the time for it to be legally recorded.
Although it may be uncomfortable, finances need to be discussed in detail. Care for an elderly patient with Alzheimer's can become costly over the years. Whether you are still raising your children or they are adults, you may not have the free funds to cover these expenses. Your parent needs to determine how their current assets will be used to subsidize their Social Security payments now and in the future.
If your parent does not have sufficient assets to cover long-term care, you will feel a substantial financial impact. Determine if your current job will be sustainable for the long haul. Are flexible scheduling choices available? If not, research your options for job opportunities.
Work with other family members to create a safe and secure environment for your parent. Remove dangerous items from the home, secure loose cords to the wall or floor, establish a daily routine, remove rugs and lock up dangerous substances. Turn down the hot water temperature, check smoke alarms regularly and keep a fire extinguisher handy in case of a kitchen fire.
You can try to reduce the amount of stressful items and situations the person is exposed to and perform activities together to help them remember the past. Although you may feel frustrated at times, it is important that you do not take it out on your mother or father. Their mental decline is out of their control.
Learn alternate ways to communicate, such as repeating the names of everyday items as you interact with them, to help them recall information. You will need to lean on your support resources and utilize respite care resources to recharge your own batteries during this stressful time.
Although it is a difficult situation, you can learn to care for yourself, your suffering parent and the rest of your family.
Jeff Wise is a health care professional who specializes in senior care. If you are looking for premium in-home care for your loved one, visit MiamiHomeCareServices.com today.