More than 15 million Americans today provide and care for loved ones who have some stage of Alzheimer’s disease. Often, when someone is first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, it is hard to see the need for caregiving due to the nature of the disease. Many times, health decline can take years and during the very early stages, people can appear very capable of providing their own care.
Early dementia is characterized by increasing forgetfulness, including misplacing items, forgetting events and difficulty with familiar tasks. Much can be done to help elders in early dementia lead safer lives. There are many long-term care facilities springing up around the country that specialize in caring for people with dementia. But compelling research shows, especially in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and related dementia, people do best when they can stay in their own home as long as possible. Being in familiar settings has a stabilizing effect for people, intellectually and emotionally.
Certain adaptations can be made to the home to help keep them safe. Things like safety knobs on stoves, adding color-contrasting tape on stairs, removing mirrors, and adding lighting. Read this for other home modification ideas.
But what do we do when we cross the line to the point that they’re unable to provide that care for them self? What solutions are available?
As dementia progresses, family is almost always the first line in dealing with those dementia-related changes. But this can come at a great cost, and not just on the financial side. Sometimes, family members must set aside a career to provide care for ailing parents. 35% of caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, report their own personal health has gotten worse due to their caregiving responsibilities for an older parent. Also, depression and anxiety has been seen to be more common for people working with dementia patients then other types of medical conditions.
Families often find great help in hiring professional in-home caregiving, like HopeBridge, to keep their loved ones with dementia safe. In-home care can be provided in one’s own home or apartment, or in the home of a family member, while the family is at work. Caregivers can help with tasks such as bathing, dressing and incontinence care, which may be awkward for family members to deal with.
The goal should always be to provide the highest degree of dignity and the best level care to maintain quality of life.
It’s especially important that individuals working with dementia have specialized training surrounding the changes the dementia brings in the brain, and how that plays out in their everyday life. Our caregivers at HopeBridge also work to provide the best in physical activity as well as social engagement and mental stimulation. If you have anxiety leaving your loved one at home alone, it may be worth the call to get a free consultation visit to evaluate your particular situation. You’ll be glad you did.