Alzheimer’ disease and other forms of dementia are progressive brain conditions, meaning symptoms will inevitably worsen over time. Care needs will correspondingly change as cognitive decline continues. Families should discuss care options with loved ones once a dementia diagnosis is made.
What is dementia?
Dementia is an umbrella term for memory loss, problems with thinking abilities and issues surrounding problem solving. Due to cognitive decline, a senior with dementia will eventually have difficulty independently performing the activities of daily life. Alzheimer’s is a common cause of dementia.
The abnormal brain changes that occur in dementia patients can be severe enough to impair their abilities to function independently. Additionally, behaviors, feelings and relationships are adversely affected. Converse to common presumptions, dementia is not a normal part of aging.
What are symptoms of dementia?
Since dementia is progressive, early symptoms start out slowly and gradually worsen. At the first sign of symptoms, the senior should seek a medical evaluation to determine the causes. While dementia currently has no cure, an early diagnosis allows seniors and their families to plan for the future.
Symptoms of dementia vary greatly. Generally, signs of dementia include issues with short-term memory and problems managing finances or keeping track of a purse or wallet. A senior with dementia is likely to experience difficulty traveling out of the neighborhood or may forget appointments.
What are treatments for dementia?
Progressive dementias, like Alzheimer’s disease, cannot be slowed down or cured. Prescription drugs are available, however, to temporarily improve symptoms. Medications for Alzheimer’s disease may help improve symptoms of other types of dementias, as well. Non-drug therapies are also beneficial.
Planning for the future requires an understanding of care options. The most ideal form of care depends largely on whether dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is in its early, mid or late stages. Care options range from home care to residential care.
Option 1: Dementia Home Care
Families consider home care to be best during the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. The senior may remain in a familiar home setting during the course of care. A familiar environment is beneficial to dementia patients, as it prevents them from becoming disoriented.
The comfort of home also provides dementia patients with an invaluable sense of security and peace of mind. Families who need help with an elderly loved one start out with home care. Hiring a home care agency helps to prevent or delay admitting the senior to a long-term care facility.
Quality home care is provided by professional dementia caregivers. Memory care providers are trained to identify the symptoms of dementia and to respond with compassion. In addition, dementia caregivers assist the senior with the activities of daily living and offer companionship.
A skilled dementia caregiver understands how to respond to a dementia patient’s unpredictable behavior, stays engaged with the senior, communicates slowly and clearly, and breaks down steps so activities are easier to manage. Caregivers are also trained in patient safety.
Option 2: Memory Care
Senior living communities have special sections dedicated to seniors living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. These secured memory care units are staffed with personnel who are trained to meet the needs of dementia patients. Memory care units are suited for seniors with mid to late-stage dementia.
Option 3: Assisted Living
When a senior does not yet require skilled medical care, an assisted living facility is an option. Dementia patients may still require assistance with personal hygiene and meal preparation, making an assisted living facility a practical solution. Support in these facilities runs 24 hours a day.
An assisted living community features individual or shared apartments and suites, factors which help to reduce costs. Senior services in such communities are comprehensive and include dining, transportation, laundry, and housekeeping. Residents may engage in an assortment of popular recreational activities.
Option 4: Adult Day Center
Alzheimer’s and dementia patients will find plenty of daytime support in adult day centers. Certain day centers are specialized and only accept patients diagnosed with a specific condition, like dementia. Different centers offer a range of therapies and programs that are appropriate for seniors’ conditions.
Adult day centers are safe places where seniors with dementia can socialize. Oftentimes, loneliness and isolation trigger bouts of depression in the elderly; but the social atmosphere of adult day centers eases these distressing emotions. Be aware that day centers are reserved for daytime hours only.
Option 5: Nursing Home
When around the clock medical care and supervision are necessary to preserve the health and well-being of a loved one living with dementia, a nursing home may be an option. Nursing homes provide skilled nursing care, which makes these facilities suitable when the senior needs fulltime care.
A dementia diagnosis is a devastating event. Proper planning, however, can support seniors and allow for a high quality of life. Families should be aware that in early stage dementia, seniors can still lead normal lives. They may require minimal support but can manage to live in their own homes.
When your elderly loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or any other form of dementia, consider enlisting in-home support from Assisting Hands Home Care. Our memory care services are ideal for dementia patients who feel more secure in the familiarity of a home environment.
We provide a range of dementia home care services to protect your loved one. Our dementia caregivers are trained to gently guide a wandering senior back home. If the senior takes medications to improve dementia symptoms, our professional caregivers will provide timely medication reminders.
Assisting Hands Home Care providers discreetly assist seniors with personal care activities, which become increasingly difficult to independently handle as dementia progresses. Our caregivers prepare nutritious meals, so care recipients remain nourished and healthy. We are also excellent companions, helping to reduce isolation and loneliness.
Families with seniors living in Matteson, Frankfort, Mokena Illinois, are encouraged to consider our reputable home care agency for the best in-home memory care. Most seniors choose to age in place, making home care the preferred option. Call Assisting Hands Home Care at (708) 880-7711 for a complimentary in-home assessment.
Sources: https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia, https://www.alzheimers.net/care-options-for-alzheimers, https://www.agingcare.com/articles/alzheimers-presents-unique-challenges-for-home-care-154829.htm, https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/home-care/info-2017/adult-day-care.html