An Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be difficult for the whole family to manage. However, rather than becoming despondent, family caregivers should take practical steps to ensure their senior loved one’s health. Here are six steps families should take following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
1. Learn About the Disease
To prepare for the challenges that Alzheimer’s poses, caregivers should learn as much as possible about the disease. Talk to your loved one’s doctor about his or her specific diagnosis, then use resources to learn more about what Alzheimer’s entails. There are plenty of online resources such as the Alzheimer’s Association as well as a wide variety of published books like Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s by Joanne Koenig Coste. Make sure your friends and family are educated as well. Knowledge can reduce stress, minimize unexpected situations, and enhance your loved one’s quality of life.
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Wellesley Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
2. Set Up Regular Medical Care
Seniors with Alzheimer’s need to have regular medical care. After the initial diagnosis, schedule frequent follow-up appointments with your loved one’s primary care doctor or specialist. Primary care doctors can often recommend an excellent geriatric psychiatrist, neurologist, or neuropsychiatrist if your loved one hasn’t found one yet. You can also look into local memory disorder clinics, which can provide effective assistance as well.
3. Develop a Support System
While your loved one’s health is paramount, you need to consider your own health as well. Being a caregiver to a senior with Alzheimer’s can take a toll on the body and mind, and it’s important to have a good support system. You may want to join a local support group for relatives of seniors with Alzheimer’s.
4. Create a Legal and Financial Plan
Caregivers should devise plans for legal, financial, and other long-term concerns as early as possible. If your loved one is still in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, he or she may be able to provide input. You may need to complete a Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Financial and Property Power of Attorney. These documents specify who is allowed to make health-related and financial decisions once a senior is no longer able to make them. You may also want to consult with an elder law attorney who can guide you through the legal process.
5. Accommodate Care Needs
After an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, seniors have to make lifestyle alterations. These alterations can range in scale and scope, but making adjustments is key to the health and happiness of the senior. If your loved one is still able to live independently, he or she may need to implement a daily routine that minimizes confusion. If your loved one’s language skills begin to worsen, try new communication styles to bridge the gap.
Seniors living with Alzheimer’s may require assistance with daily activities. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Wellesley Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.
6. Get Outside Assistance
You should also begin investigating outside assistance such as respite care, senior day care, or home maintenance services. These options ensure caregivers give their senior loved ones the best possible assistance while also preventing burnout.
Family caregivers sometimes need a break from their caregiving responsibilities. When they need respite care, Wellesley families can rely on professional caregivers to help their senior loved ones remain safe at home. To create a comprehensive care plan for your aging loved one, call Home Care Assistance at (781) 239-0060 today.