As a caregiver for a loved one with dementia, you have been through a lot. Perhaps you have been through some health decisions already and are beginning to realize the many decisions that you will have to make for your loved one in the coming future. “Planning ahead in terms of care for your loved one with dementia is an excellent idea,” states Suzy McCann, Community Relations Director of YourLife™ of Pensacola, a Memory Care community in Pensacola, Florida. “Obviously you can’t plan for everything ahead of time, but starting that discussion early helps you as a caregiver and the rest of your family be more prepared during each step of your loved one’s journey.” “Including your loved one with dementia early on in your planning process allows them to be an active participant in their own health decisions,” McCann continues. “Though you as their caregiver and the rest of your family may revisit and reevaluate your plans for your loved one’s future, setting a base early on will help you feel that you are staying true to your loved one’s wishes, a strong support reassuring you that you are make the right decisions.”
5 Dementia Caregiver Tips
Trying to grasp all the preparations required to make those future plans can seem quite daunting. However, by taking each component of your loved one’s care step by step, you and your family can develop a steady base for a care plan that will keep them prepared for many years to come. When discussing future plans with your family and loved one with dementia, consider these five tips outlined by the Alzheimer’s Association®.
- Educate Yourself and Others
Dementia comes in a variety of stages, each with their own symptoms and behaviors. Making sure you and your loved one’s caregiving team are knowledgeable about each stage and what to expect will prepare them for how to best treat and combat any troublesome behaviors. This will eliminate any fear of what is to come, decrease unexpected events that you are unprepared for and keep you and your team best updated on effective caregiving skills for each stage of your loved one’s dementia journey.
- Creating a Personal Care Team
The biggest mistake you can make as a dementia caregiver is assuming that you can do it all on your own. Establishing a support network and developing a solid caregiving team is vital in ensuring that your loved one receives the best quality of care while still allowing you to stay healthy, calm, and enjoy time with your loved one. These individuals can be friends or relatives or even neighbors who can be close by and help run weekly errands such as groceries or driving your loved one to doctor appointments. Once this team of helpers is developed, you will want to communicate with them frequently on your loved one’s schedule, medications and changing status to maintain that standard level of care and make sure everyone is on the same page.
- Develop a Care Plan
Your loved one with dementia’s care plan is a long-term, gradually changing process. When considering each step of this plan, you want to consider the various stages of dementia and what about your loved one’s life may need adjusting as they begin to rely on others more. By having a schedule for their daily routine as well as monthly calendars of when housecleaning or a grocery run is being done, your loved one will have a calming sense of stability and consistency. Having a detailed plan per week, per month and so on, also allows your caregiving team to know what is expected and have an ongoing plan to address your loved one’s needs.
- Form a Financial and Legal Plan
Financially and legally planning early on allows your loved one to be part of the process before dementia alters any of their decision making. Planning things such as power of attorney and putting legal paperwork in place helps reduce later stress later on and negates the need to make emotional decisions in the heat of the moment. Putting all these things in order ahead of time also allows you and your loved one to consult with professionals and truly discuss everything fully with your family before things are firmly set in stone.
- Consider Later-Stage Options
Discussing later-stage, dementia-care options may seem difficult and emotional. However, by coming to terms with these decisions now your loved one will still be able to voice their opinions on concerns such as – In what type of environment do they want to spend their time? Are there any treatments or procedures that they are truly against or consider too far? Answering these questions, along with others with medical professionals, helps set options and possibilities for your loved one in terms of your loved one’s later-stage dementia, letting everyone’s voice be heard. Thinking forward to your loved one with dementia’s future can seem like an overwhelming and daunting task. However, by breaking down each step into these five simple steps, you will be much more prepared to take on the task of caregiver and leader of your loved one’s care team for many years to come. To learn more about best supporting your loved one with dementia, contact the team at YourLife™ of Pensacola. We would be happy to help you learn more about memory loss, provide you with support and help you provide the best care for your loved one. To RSVP to a support group or to get in touch with a member of our team, contact us at 850-257-7078 today!
The Memory Care Your Loved One Deserves.
Offering the very best in Memory Care, YourLife™ of Pensacola was designed specifically with residents in mind. We’ve created a community where residents can define their own lifestyle, based on their preferences, needs and story, all while having the peace of mind of 24-hour support and the freedom to define their own lifestyles. Because we focus solely on Memory Care, all of our resources and attention are on catering to each resident’s needs while providing unequaled peace of mind for families. Our licensed nurses and YourLife™ Personal Care Specialists are on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide personally inspired care and support, no matter what your needs. With such dedicated care, our residents have the support they need to live as independently and engaged as possible. At YourLife™ of Pensacola, YourStory comes to life. Whether you want to enjoy our exclusive activities and YourStory programming, spend time exploring our services and amenities, relax in our easy-to-navigate Memory Care neighborhoods and living areas or try something new, the choice is entirely up to you. Contact us to learn more!