Learning your loved one has been diagnosed with Dementia can leave you with more questions than answers. There are resources available to help navigate your next steps and your family’s future plan to support and care for your loved one.
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When is it time to reach out for support?
If you suspect that a loved one is suffering from Dementia, it is important to get a professional diagnosis. With a diagnosis you will have more avenues for support and care. Some of the signs of Dementia are:
- Memory problems – trouble recalling short-term memories like what they had for lunch, where they put the car keys, forgetting to take a shower or do other daily chores.
- Difficulty concentrating – trouble communicating thoughts, explaining an event or expressing their feelings.
- Mood swings – Depression, personality changes, drastic differences in what would have been normal behavior.
- Loss of interest – Difficulty being motivated to participate in activities or hobbies that were once important, apathy about spending time with others.
- Repetitive – telling the same story or asking the same questions in a short time period or repeating daily tasks just after doing them.
- Unable to adapt to change – Routine is important to someone with Dementia. It can be upsetting when things change like furniture placement, normal shopping trips, daily tasks or people they are consistently in contact with.
While all of these are signs of Dementia some of them can be confused with other illnesses so it is very important that a diagnosis comes from a professional. Early diagnosis from a neurologist can lead to treatment that will slow the progression of Dementia.
Where is the best place to find support for a loved one with dementia?
Once there is the diagnosis of Dementia there are numerous avenues for support that you can take advantage of. There are assisted living and independent living communities along with retirement communities that offer educational classes that can help with memory and confusion. You can find groups that work to help your loved one with acceptance and understanding after a Dementia diagnosis. There are also groups for you as the caregiver for support and information on what to do next. Consider some of these options for support:
- Retirement community – These communities are designed to help your loved one maintain the same lifestyle they are accustomed to and still allow for that added help when needed.
- Assisted living community – This is similar to a retirement community but with a little extra help for your loved one. It allows them to again maintain the same luxurious lifestyle along with a caregiver who can help with reminders on medications, daily tasks, and check-ups.
- Support groups – It is important to have support for both your loved one with Dementia and their caregiver. As a caregiver you will benefit from meeting with other caregivers and discussing new treatments, options, and the overall health care of your loved one.
- Social groups – Maintaining an active social life is vital to keeping your loved one healthy and strong. Depression is a common reaction to a Dementia diagnosis and keeping active with other seniors will help. Consider groups that focus on exercise, volunteering, and cooking or other social educational classes.