Most people are more comfortable dealing with physical illnesses common to people over 65 than they are with dementia. Losing the ability to think and reason clearly is frightening to experience in ourselves or see in those we love. When dementia is diagnosed, knowing what to do next can be overwhelming.
Putting a parent with dementia in a nursing home is difficult and may not be necessary, depending on what help is needed. Could your parents get the support they need with in-home dementia care? How much support do they need with daily tasks?
Determining what problems exist and which dementia in-home care services someone needs can be challenging, but you can get help with that evaluation. Having a strong partner like Golden Care for in-home care for seniors can help you understand your options for having daily services in your own home as an alternative to live-in care for dementia patients.
What to look for
The CDC defines dementia as “not a specific disease but rather a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interfere with doing everyday activities.”
Symptoms of dementia include memory lapses, mood changes, disorientation, slower information processing, difficulty with complex tasks, and difficulty communicating. Everyone occasionally forgets a name or struggles to understand instructions, so recognizing symptoms of dementia isn’t always so easy.
If you or a loved one who loves to cook suddenly has trouble following a recipe, dementia may be to blame. If someone struggles to find common words or forgets to take care of everyday tasks, that’s concerning. For example, sometimes people stop bathing or wearing clean clothes. If you or your loved one suddenly has trouble finding their way to the store they’ve gone to for years, it could be dementia. Mood changes, especially depression or apathy, could also be a warning sign. Bring any noticeable changes in mental function to your doctor’s attention.
Whether you’ve noticed symptoms of dementia in yourself, your spouse, or your parent, it’s important to have a doctor evaluate the patient. Start with a primary care physician who will do a physical exam and ask questions about mood and behavior. You may get a referral to a neurologist or psychiatrist for further testing and evaluation. Doctors may prescribe medication or recommend physical therapy to help reduce or slow the progression of the disease.
Getting the right type of support
The degree to which dementia interferes with someone’s life varies widely. Dementia may only cause minor difficulty for one individual but be more debilitating for another. For example, one person may only need medication management, whereas others may need 24-hour supervision.
You may need help determining what a person needs in the way of support and services. Talking to a parent about accepting the help they need can be difficult, too. Fiercely independent people may be happy to take help from people they know but may balk at having strangers provide the support they need.
Ask for advice about how to discuss new services to your loved one. Golden Care can help guide you through all the decision making and communication challenges. We can also help coordinate all the services and professionals involved in care.
Although most people prefer to stay independent for as long as possible, eventually, dementia patients are likely to need quite a bit of support. Individual circumstances range from a parent living with grown children to living alone in a different city with no one nearby to help. Therefore, once you or someone in your family is diagnosed with dementia, you should learn all you can about the care and services available to help you.
Consider your options
In-home alternatives to nursing homes include everything from a mix of family and professionals providing care to outside professionals doing it all. In one set of circumstances, a senior may do well with a family member stopping in every evening and a professional every morning. For others, having professional care all day with a family member taking over at night might work best. A patient may even need a house call from a dentist or doctor, and finding the best is hard if you live somewhere else.
Even when a dementia patient lives with family, caregivers often need respite because caring for a parent full time can be stressful and physically taxing. Full-time caregivers may need a day or evening off every week to recharge.
Putting a parent with dementia in a nursing home may eventually become necessary at some point, but for many seniors there are alternatives. No one wants to leave familiar surroundings, so getting memory care at home might be easier and more enjoyable for everyone.
Whether someone needs a peer-level companion, daily visits, or having someone to coordinate everything can mean less stress for you and your loved one.
We’re here to help
Looking for assistance from a trusted source? Golden care is one of the most trusted care services in San Diego. We provide caregivers who are experienced and trained in providing care to seniors. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help to support you and your loved one.