Dementia care planning can be frustrating and stressful. Dementia symptoms may worsen over time, as do their difficult behaviors. As your loved one's sickness worsens, the level of care they require will increase. While you cannot change your parent's diagnosis, you may plan ahead to ensure their health and safety.
Understand the early, middle, and late stages of dementia and the types of care required. Recognizing what to expect will assist you in developing a dementia care plan that enables you to make informed decisions in advance.
Most people can act independently during the early stages of dementia. Your loved ones may be able to continue engaging in many of the things they have previously enjoyed, such as driving, volunteering, and attending social gatherings.
You may be unaware of how much assistance your parent needs during the early stages of dementia. While the majority of people are capable of doing basic activities of daily living (ADLs), more complicated tasks — like maintaining a budget or learning how to utilize new technology — may be more challenging. Additionally, memory problems and cognitive impairment may become more severe. Establishing a dementia care plan might assist in anticipating challenges that may arise.
You can help your parent during the early stages of dementia by:
As your loved one's disease worsens, developing a dementia care plan becomes even more critical. The symptoms of middle-stage dementia intensify as the brain cells continue to be damaged.
Your parent with middle-stage dementia may require assistance with the following:
If you live with someone who is in the middle stages of dementia, you have probably assumed increased responsibility for their care by now. At this point, it may be necessary to assess whether you require more assistance to safeguard your loved one's health and safety. It's also critical to evaluate your own physical and mental health, the financial costs of caregiving, and the impact on your family, social, and professional lives.
You may wish to consider the following care and support options:
The symptoms of late-stage dementia continue to worsen as the disease develops. At this point, leaving your loved one alone is no longer safe; they will require 24-hour help and supervision.
Along with full-time assistance with daily care, your parent may:
This is a challenging moment for caregivers and family members, who frequently must make care decisions while also coping with sadness and grief. Preserving a person's quality of life is critical for people who have end-stage dementia. Hospice care might be beneficial for families at this time.
Hospice care is available at home, at hospice facilities, nursing homes, and hospitals, and frequently in assisted living or memory care communities. It focuses on ensuring the comfort of your loved one with dementia while also supporting the family.
If you wish to know how seniors cope with dementia, check out Senior Strong’s article for a brief overview of the sickness.
William Rivers is an editor with a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling at Maine State University. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the senior healthcare industry.