Understanding the early stages of dementia was developed by request by many of readers. So many family caregivers agree to providing care, even to keep their family member home and avoid a nursing home. The family caregiver does not realize that being a caregiver can be as short as 6 years to as long as 20 years from diagnosis to death.
Dementia is not an seen as a normal part of aging. As we are living longer, we are not living healthier. Most family caregivers feel disappointed by the lack of knowledge by the healthcare industry in regards to what they deal with at home. It is one thing for a healthcare professional to know a dementia patient in a clinic setting. It is a totally different experience to see and live with the dementia patient at home.
Early stages of dementia
This book was created by request from so many of my clients that are dealing with the early stages of dementia. Understanding dementia is the first step to make informed decisions.
Many family caregivers do not realize the negative impact taking care of someone can have on their health and finances. Many become socially isolated while providing care.
Understanding the early stages of dementia will help the family caregiver and the family member with dementia approach the future with confidence.
Research studies have reported that family caregivers that handle change and challenges with logical responses versus emotional responses will actually help to slow the cognitive progression of their family member suffering from dementia.
Understanding the Early Stages of Dementia will help the caregiver be prepared for the challenging or negative behaviors that will occur. This is a common problem as the dementia patient will start to find their memory loss and daily environment more and more challenging. The frustration the dementia patient experience will exhibit as aggressiveness, agitation, confabulation and /or anger.
Understanding Denial and Lack of Insight in Dementia
Be prepared to provide for dementia care at home with confidence. This book is one, in a series of books that will help support you through this challenging journey.
Caregiver Tips To Simplify Your Daily Tasks for a Better Life
Find useful strategies to manage everyday tasks easier and prepare for the future. By adopting new approaches early on, you'll have more time to adjust. Here are some tips:
Stay organized: Write down your to-do lists, appointments, and events in a notebook or calendar. Consider having a designated "memory bench" to store important items for each day.
Streamline bill payments: Set up automated payments to ensure bills are paid correctly and on time. Discuss automatic bill payment options with your utility providers, insurance companies, and mortgage/leasing office. Ask for help from a trusted person to review your financial statements.
Simplify grocery shopping: Take advantage of grocery delivery services, order meals online, or contact Meals on Wheels for affordable meal deliveries with added safety checks. If you cook at home, opt for easy-to-prepare items.
Manage medications easily: Use a weekly pillbox, a pillbox with reminders, or a medication dispenser to stay on top of your medications. Consider electronic reminder systems like alarms on your phone or computer.
Plan your transportation: If driving becomes challenging, talk to your doctor and take seriously the concerns of family and friends. Explore public transportation options or consider car or ride-sharing services.
Create a Safe Home Environment
Make simple changes in your home to ensure safety:
Declutter and remove unused items: Clear out clothing, appliances, decorations, and furniture that you no longer need. Consider donating items in good condition to charity.
Remove hazards: Get rid of throw rugs, secure electrical cords, and eliminate tripping hazards. Install nonskid mats in showers and tubs.
Ensure kitchen safety: Install an automatic shut-off switch on the stove and consider using microwave or electric devices with automatic shut-off features. Set the water heater at a safe temperature to prevent scalding.
Wear identification: Carry medical ID bracelets or necklaces for emergencies. Consider joining the MedicAlert + Alzheimer's Association Safe Return program.
Consider safety devices: Explore fall monitors, emergency call buttons, and GPS tracking systems with the help of a relative or friend.
Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Ensure these detectors are functional and set reminders to check the batteries every 6 months.
Future Preparation for Peace of Mind
It's important to plan ahead for your health and finances:
Get legal and financial matters in order: Prepare or update important documents like your will, living will, healthcare power of attorney, and financial power of attorney.
Have open discussions: Talk about health and financial decisions as soon as possible to ensure you have a say and are well-prepared for the future.
Make it a priority to simplify your everyday tasks, create a safe living environment, and plan ahead for a worry-free future.
Build a Strong Care Team Partner Support Group
Your support system can include family, friends, and caregivers who can offer assistance in various ways.
Here are some suggestions to strengthen your network:
Create a Care team partner support group. Identify trustworthy individuals who can visit you regularly and be an emergency contact. Keep their contact information easily accessible, such as on your fridge or in your wallet or phone. Even if your family members live far away, they can still provide help. Learn more about long-distance caregiving.
Consult with a doctor or neurologist who can monitor changes in your memory, thinking, and daily tasks. Ask them to create a care plan and write down instructions (or have someone take notes on your behalf). If getting to the doctor's office is challenging, inquire about home visits or remote consultations. They may also assist you in finding a home health care aide or geriatric care manager.
Consider sharing your diagnosis with trusted neighbors who can keep an eye out for your well-being. They may be the first to notice if you're wandering or appear lost and can offer assistance or contact help.
Familiarize yourself with home- and community-based support and services. Social service agencies, local nonprofits, and Area Agencies on Aging can provide or refer you to in-home help, transportation, and meals to support your independent living. Reach out to the Eldercare Locator or explore your state government or tribal organization's website for more information. Community centers and houses of worship can also be helpful resources. Check out the guide on Alzheimer's caregiving for additional support.
Stay connected through technology. Make use of smartphones, tablets, and smart speakers to access weather updates, connect with loved ones through video chats, email, and social media. Consider devices that can help you locate essential items like keys and opt for user-friendly products, such as a simplified remote control or picture-based telephone. Start early to learn and establish a technology routine. If you're not familiar with technology, inquire about classes at your local library or community center.
Seek support from those who share your condition. Connect with others who understand what you're going through.Reach out for help if you're feeling down and experiencing suicidal thoughts. Call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.