Alzheimer’s disease can be challenging for the person diagnosed and for their family members and loved ones. Each day can bring new demands as the Alzheimer’s patient and family tries to cope with changing levels of ability and new patterns of behavior. Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can often seem overwhelming, but the more information you have, the better you can handle the future. Start by learning about ways to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as where to find support, and how to determine the long-term care options that are best suited to you and your loved one.
There are some Alzheimer’s care preparations that should be done in the early stages of the disease. It may be hard to consider these questions, however, making preparations early helps for a smoother transition for everyone. Depending on the stage of Alzheimer’s at diagnosis, it is important to include the patient in the decision-making process as much as possible.
Questions to consider in preparing for Alzheimer’s and dementia care:
Who will make healthcare/financial decisions when the person no longer can? While a difficult topic to bring up, if your loved one is still lucid enough, getting their wishes down on paper means they’ll be preserved and respected by all members of the family.
How will the memory care needs be met? Sometimes other family members assume that a spouse or nearest family member will be the caregiver, but that is not always the case. Caregiving is a large commitment that gets bigger over time. The patient will eventually need round-the-clock care. Communication is essential to make sure that the needs of the Alzheimer’s patient are met, and that the caregiver has the support to meet those needs.
Where will the person live? Is his or her home appropriate, or is it difficult to access or make safe for later? If the person is currently living alone, for example, or far from any family or other support, it may be necessary to relocate or consider an assisted living community with support and custom care plans based on the level of memory care needed.
For information on memory care in North Carolina and Virginia contact Spring Arbor.