Things to do when caring for a loved one with dementia.

  1. Make legal agreements. It is important that you have legal documents on hand that will be helpful to you and your loved one. Define legal agreements so that you can make decisions on behalf of the one you are caring for, making sure there is someone legally appointed to do this for you. This can be done with Powers of Attorney (POA), and it consists of giving an agent, or attorney-in-fact, the power to act in the name of the person with dementia. This way you prevent any critical situation that requires important decisions to be legally taken, concerning health care and finances for your loved one and yourself.
  2. Get different medical opinions. When it comes to patients suffering from Alzheimer’s or any type of dementia, it is really important to consider a second, or even a third medical opinion, on a diagnosis and an adequate course for an established medication treatment. Get a cognitive assessment in the elderly to determine baseline patient characteristics by level of functioning, and a detailed explanation of your loved one’s cognitive condition.
  3. Take care of yourself. A healthy and well-rested caregiver is a productive caregiver. Check your regular weekly schedule, and try to think of specific ways to be helped out by family members, or friends. What kinds of tasks could you delegate?
  4. Join a therapy group. If you are experiencing anxiety, or high stress, consider the support and advice from those who understand the challenges because they walked the same path before. If your loved one is at the early stages of the disease, it may be helpful to consider the possibility of a therapy group for your loved one, too.
  5. Plan ahead. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior. But it is a progressive disease. Doing proper research will allow you to know about the symptoms and start planning according to some situations that start to emerge. There is 24/7 wandering support for individuals living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Register your loved one with MedicAlert / Safe Return (national) and Take Me Home registry (if in SD county). Get acquainted now with in-home care services and residential care services that you may need to have access in the future. You do not want to wait until a difficult situation or crisis to learn what’s available.

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