Receiving the news of a degenerative health condition diagnosis is never straightforward. There is an inevitable, complex chain of emotions that follows while the news sets in, and figuring out what to do next may feel insurmountable. Though it’s never without pain, there are useful and practical ways to support a parent after a dementia diagnosis. Read on for some useful advice.
Make a Full Assessment of Their Needs
There are different stages of dementia, and what the care plan should look like is dictated by which stage the patient is at. The later stages come with a higher demand of needs, but if it is caught early, there is a chance for independent living until it worsens. As the disease is degenerative, the condition will worsen. The needs, therefore, will vary. Early on, it may be a case of increasing your presence and highlighting problem areas such as whether or not the patient needs assistance with cooking or cleaning. Further down the round, personal care and round-the-clock supervision will need to be put in place. Making an assessment of needs on a regular basis will help limit negative consequences and ensure the patient is well looked after throughout this journey.
Find Appropriate Accommodation
When the later stages take hold, and therefore an increased level of care is needed, it is often necessary to look for residential care options. Looking after a parent with dementia is heartbreaking and requires constant attention and personal sacrifice. That is why there are benefits to places like assisted living facilities, the main one being a reassurance that the patient is getting what they need when they need it. Assisted living provides dignity, caters to social needs, and ensures a reliable care agenda is kept at all costs. Look for a reputable facility in your area by searching for Grove City assisted living, for example.
Help Them Stay On Track
There are areas where you can really help your parent. Though it requires some extra care and attention, organizational aspects of their new routine may be difficult to maintain alone. Staying on top of doctor appointments, routine reminders and household bills are the three main areas where you can provide real, practical assistance. These tasks we take for granted become impossible as the memory worsens, so being present to help out will be invaluable.
Find Social Arrangements
Staying social nurtures cognitive abilities. Isolation leads to rapid deterioration, and there are often groups that specifically tailor to memory patients. Meeting other carers in your position has benefits too, as seeing other people in the same position allows for a unique place to grow kinship.
Above all else, if you are able to, just be present. Pick up the phone and have a daily check-in with your parent. Go to their accommodation for frequent visits, and stay in their life as you would in any other circumstance. Even when their memory fades, and it is painful, the time you have together will count more than you ever know.
Dementia is painful for everyone involved. Seeing a parent go through the motions of this disease is disempowering and has a heavy emotional tax. Look after yourself, and give as much as you can to show comfort in the hard times.