For anyone who cares for someone with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, there are five things you must do:
- Establish legal responsibility. Create legal documents that will be helpful to you and your loved one. Establish your legal right to make decisions on your loved one’s behalf, and make sure that there is someone legally designated to do this for you, too. This includes creating Powers of Attorney for both health care and finances.
- Get a second opinion. Always seek more than one medical opinion about a diagnosis as well as for a course of medication or other treatment. Obtain a professional geriatric cognitive assessment to determine a baseline functioning level, and ask for it to be explained to you in detail.
- Care for yourself. A healthy, rested caregiver is a more effective caregiver. Consider your typical weekly schedule, and look for concrete ways that family and friends could help you. What tasks can you delegate? Utilize day care services or find other ways to make time for yourself.
- Join a support group. You need support, advice and an empathetic ear from those who have walked in your shoes and understand your challenges. Explore the possibility of a support group for your loved one too, if they are in the early stages of the disease.
- Plan now for the future. Alzheimer’s and related dementias are progressive diseases. Do your research to learn what lies ahead, and plan accordingly. Register your loved one with the Medic Alert/Safe Return program (medicalert.org/safereturn). Become familiar now with the in-home and residential-based resources you may need to access in the future. Don’t wait for a crisis to find out what’s available.
As a specialized dementia care residence, CountryHouse is committed to providing education and support to those in our community who care about someone with Alzheimer’s. It is a difficult journey, with both joys and pain, but you are not alone. Please call. We are here to answer your questions or put you in touch with resources that can help.
Have a question about Alzheimer’s or dementia care? Call Nicole at (308) 381-1988 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.