If you’re providing care for a senior loved one, you’re well aware of the scope of emotions involved. On one hand, it’s a great honor and extremely rewarding. Having said that, it can also be taxing, draining, and demanding. Add to that the other challenges inherent with cognitive decline, and it’s easy to grasp how family care providers can rapidly become overwhelmed.
Cognitive functioning can decline slowly, or it could decline seemingly overnight, depending on the cause (Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia, traumatic brain injury, or Parkinson’s, to name a few). Regardless of the reason for a person’s cognitive decline, there are measures family members can take to deliver the most effective degree of care.
- Make note of the person’s baseline behaviors as well as the specific changes you are witnessing.
- Schedule a comprehensive exam with the primary care physician for an exact diagnosis and to eliminate other medical ailments.
- Ask the physician for educational tools on the diagnosis to help you be fully informed about what to anticipate, and to share with other relatives.
- Evaluate the person’s needs – both today and ongoing, as needs may evolve over time. Consider physical along with emotional concerns, such as their capacity to:
- Take care of personal cleanliness tasks
- Deal with meals, laundry, housekeeping, and other chores around the residence
- Maintain social ties and remain engaged in enjoyable activities
- Get to medical appointments, take care of grocery shopping, as well as other needs outside of the home
- Remain safe: from wandering, falls, medication mismanagement, and more
- Establish a plan to meet any needs identified.
- Evaluate finances and legal records to ensure someone has been specified as power of attorney so the person’s wishes will be implemented and decisions made on their behalf when needed.
- Find help – through a web-based or in-person group for family caregivers, and for the specific diagnosis if possible.
What is important to bear in mind is you’re not alone! Absolute Companion Care, a well-regarded provider of dementia care in Towson, MD and the surrounding areas, is always at your disposal to work together with you, creating opportunities for you to step away from your caregiving responsibilities for your own needs and interests. Caring for yourself is vital to being able to properly look after another person. Plan ongoing, regular time away for self-care such as:
- Physical activity – at least 20 minutes of exercise 3 times per week, or per doctor’s suggestions
- Healthy eating – avoid the drive-through and quick, sugary, or salty snacks and opt for nutritious selections
- Rest – something that is increasingly difficult when taking care of a person with cognitive decline, but vitally important
- Health and dental checkups – including tending to your mental health to prevent caregiver burnout and depression
- Relaxing, enjoyable activities – reading, a lunch date with a friend, and whatever hobbies and interests brighten your day
Get in touch with Absolute Companion Care’s experts in dementia care in Towson, MD and nearby areas at 410-357-9640 for more information regarding our respite care services, provided by fully trained and experienced senior care professionals. Request a no-cost consultation and let us help you ensure the most effective care for a person you love with cognitive decline – and, for yourself.