Being diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is certainly a life-altering event. It does not, however have to mean the end of all independence. In the early stages of dementia, many people live on their own successfully. This requires some planning, putting safety precautions into place, and establishing a support system.
- It’s important to make preparations while you can still participate in the decision-making process. The people in your support system need to know your wishes and what to do when you become incapacitated. Designate someone to make decisions for you, and speak to a financial planner to make sure your affairs are in order.
- Prioritize safety. As your disease progresses, you may be at increased risk for falls, wandering, or malnutrition. Put strategies in place to help protect you from harm, like having a loved one check in with you regularly. Plan for how you will manage when you can no longer drive. Consider enrolling in a wandering response service, because the increased confusion and agitation that go along with dementia may cause you to wander, putting yourself in harm’s way. It may become difficult for you to monitor your own behavior, so make sure someone who knows you is paying attention. Some signs your loved ones should look for are:
- Habits or personality traits may shift: A person with dementia may become withdrawn, apathetic, negative, suspicious, or unusually fearful, or not admit to problems. Personal hygiene may be neglected.
- Conversations may change. Increasingly vague conversations that ramble or repeat, as well as an increased intolerance for frustration, may indicate a need for more in-depth care.
- Dropping correspondence may indicate progression of dementia. Decreased participation in social media, letter writing, or email can indicated a decline, as can a change in writing style or handwriting.
- Inability to keep up with meals and medication means assistance is necessary. A person with dementia may forget to eat, may stop cooking for forget to turn off the stove, or may eat only sweets. He or she may also forget to take medication or take too much of it.
- Plan to meet your basic needs. As dementia progresses, it can be hard to keep up with social obligations, pay bills, or grocery shop. Arranging for meals on wheels or grocery delivery can be helpful, as can arranging to have your bills paid and income deposited automatically.
- Know when to ask for help. It may be helpful to go ahead and arrange to have someone help you with housekeeping, daily chores, and errands. Having regular help and a routine that connects you to other people can keep you from becoming isolated. Make sure someone you trust has a set of your keys, and make arrangements to have your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors checked regularly.
When the time comes and you need some help, whether for you or a loved one, trust BrightStar Care in Jupiter, FL. We know that living with dementia is challenging, so we work hard to deliver the right care for your loved one and to be a partner you can turn to for support. Because we believe that caring is more than just a job, our nurses, therapists, CNAs, and caregivers offer the most professional compassionate care available. In the comforting, familiar surroundings of home, we offer a full range of care services to meet your loved one’s needs and help you when you need it most. Contact us or call 561-741-1200 to learn more about our services and let us know what we can do for you.