Getting word that a parent or other loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's can be a jarring experience. But, fortunately, you can start taking action and putting safeguards in place right away. The following steps will help you provide effective memory care, support, and planning in the wake of an Alzheimer's diagnosis.
Design a Long-Term Care Plan
It's no secret that Alzheimer's can be a brutal condition, and, as it stands, there is no cure. So, first, everyone in the family must understand that professional memory care is eventually going to be necessary. But, that's likely not something that needs to happen immediately. Be sure your parent knows that they aren't going to be uprooted from their home and family until their health makes it absolutely necessary for them to be looked after by a long-term care provider.
Work with your parent and the rest of your family to design a care plan that makes the most sense. Are there specific symptoms you can all agree would signal an increased need for professional care? Discuss these symptoms at length so everyone knows—and is prepared for—the time when additional levels of support will be necessary.
Allow Your Parent to Make Decisions While They Still Can
A newly-diagnosed parent may feel railroaded by all this new information, the concerns and emotions of their family members, and the need to decide their futures sooner rather than later. But this is the time to empower your parent, not take over for them. Let them have a say in what they want to happen. Allow them the freedom to make decisions now and be a part of their own treatment plan. Also, just be there for your parent. Listen to them. Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings. Remember: You're all in this together.
Be Aware of Emerging Symptoms
As a child who loves their parent, you will need to take on some added responsibility and keep more frequent tabs on Mom or Dad. If you notice more and more symptoms emerging—such as increased forgetfulness, a greater sense of confusion, or difficulty in meeting the tasks of day-to-day living, like maintaining personal hygiene and keeping a clean home—and your parent is trying to cover up or compensate for these things, it may be time for professional memory care.
By following the above suggestions, you are being proactive in your parent's health and treatment. Also, be certain that you are as informed as possible about Alzheimer's and have a support of your own. When it comes time to explore long-term care options, contact Wellington Place at Biron. This nonprofit nursing home serves Wisconsin Rapids, WI, and the surrounding area, and they look forward to introducing you to their caring, compassionate staff and variety of memory care options. Call (715) 423-5600, visit their website, or message them on Facebook to learn more or to schedule a tour.