Today is World Azlheimer’s Awareness Day, and we honor those who are bravely dealing with the daily challenges of Alzheimer’s Disease. If you are caring for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, it is important to address several key issues before they arise.
Here is a helpful checklist for family members caring for a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease:
- Ask for a referral to a specialist such as a neurologist, neuropsychologist, or geriatric psychiatrist, for a comprehensive medical workup, including brain imaging, and additional cognitive testing.
- Accompany your loved one to doctor or therapy visits.
- Speak with an attorney to create a Durable Power of Attorney in order to make important health care and financial decisions. (Note: If your loved one doesn’t designate a power of attorney and later becomes incapable of choosing one, the courts may have to take over).
- Build a solid support team for caregiving purposes. Beyond medical professionals, reach out to friends, family, and community resources to form a network of allies.
- Address safety concerns. There may be a range of potential hazards, and they’ll change over time. Is it safe for your loved one to drive? Is he/she care prone to falling? Or possibly at risk of wandering and then getting lost?
- Stop the ability to wander. Six out of 10 people with dementia wander from their home at least once according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
- Consider installing an alarm system. This may include installing remote door locks or alarms, locks far above or below eye level, and other safety devices.
- Anticipate risks in their home. Remove sharp knives from the kitchen, keep medications in a locked drawer or cabinet, revolve throw rugs and other fall hazards, disable the stove when not in use, and lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
- Provide a routine for eating or sleeping. Creating a schedule will provide consistency and help alleviate other issues with Alzheimer’s such as confusion and cognitive dissonance.
- Create a plan for respite care. Family caregivers can often get fatigued and respite care can provide relief from stress and exhaustion.
If you are looking for additional support to meet the changing needs of your family member, please reach out to us at: www.affinityseniorcare.com or call Affinity at 248.363.8430.