Receiving the news that an older loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is life-changing. Thinking through the many different facets and factors of the disease, both now as well as in the future, may be overwhelming.
Over the coming months, this three-part series will explore the early, middle and later stages of dementia. We will explain the specific care needed during each stage, what family caregivers can expect, and how Absolute Companion Care, the Sparks home health care leader, can help.
Caregiving in the First Stages of Dementia
If you’ve just recently stepped into the role of being a caregiver for a loved one in the first stages of dementia, we have the help as well as the hope you will need. A good place to start is to just take a deep breath and find comfort in knowing you’re not alone. There are more than 50 million people currently living with dementia worldwide, and 10 million new diagnoses every year.
It is also helpful to recognize that the beginning stage of Alzheimer’s may last for several years, often with treatment options available to slow the progression of the disease. And, many older adults during the early-stage experience limited cognitive difficulties – which means you will have the chance to work together to put into place a strategy that addresses all of the older adult’s wishes related to long-term care, finances and legal matters.
Keeping that in mind, following are the changes you may expect, both for the senior and yourself.
Early-Stage Dementia – Impact on the Senior Diagnosed:
- Becoming lost in familiar places
- Losing track of time
- Denial and/or fear
Can benefit from assistance and support with:
- Setting up and keeping appointments
- Financial management
- Recalling familiar places, words, and names
Early-Stage Dementia – Impact on the Family Caregiver:
- Anxiety, stress, fear, and uncertainty as to what the future will hold
- Frustration, anger, and resentment
- A loss of control
- Sadness, grief, and hopelessness
- Denial and a feeling of disbelief
May benefit from:
- Prioritizing self-care: getting plenty of rest, eating a well-balanced diet, exercising, and setting aside time for enjoyable activities
- Engaging the services of a mental health professional if needed
- Forming a network of relatives and friends who are prepared to help
- Finding and attending a support group (either in-person or online)
- Becoming knowledgeable about the disease, treatment options, and what to expect as it progresses
A professional home care provider, like Absolute Companion Care, is a great partner for family members caring for someone with dementia. Beginning home care services now, in the earliest stage, is imperative to building trust and rapport with the elder – a factor that will likely be important as the dementia progresses into subsequent stages. In addition, it allows family caregivers the opportunity for ongoing, regularly scheduled breaks from care. Our thoroughly trained and experienced care experts are highly skilled and up to date on the most effective dementia care techniques.
We can also make available helpful resources specific to any particular challenges you are facing. Just email or call us at 410-357-9640 and request a complimentary in-home consultation. With Absolute Companion Care, the Sparks home health leader, you’re never alone; we’re here to walk with you each step of the way. For a full list of all of the communities where we provide our top-rated dementia care, please visit our Service Area page.