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Steps to Take If You Think Your Aging Parent Has Dementia

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As your parent continues to grow older, there may come a point when you feel as if something isn’t quite right with his or her mental health. While everyone’s cognitive abilities decrease with age, there shouldn’t be any sudden changes to memory or personality. If you believe your elderly loved one has dementia, you need to immediately start taking steps to protect his or her health and future. 

Track the Symptoms

One of the reasons dementia often goes unnoticed in its initial stages is because the symptoms can be highly unpredictable. Some seniors start having difficulty with everyday tasks while others forget the occasional name. In some cases, the only thing that changes is the individual’s personality. Families who believe their  loved one might have dementia need to start tracking the early warning signs. When it comes time to talk to your parent or a doctor, you should be able to provide specific details on all the symptoms you have noticed. 

A dementia diagnosis is always difficult news for seniors. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a home care provider Lincoln, NE, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Have an Honest Conversation with Your Parent

Bringing up the topic of dementia is never going to be easy, which is why you need to choose the correct time and place. In a private and comfortable setting, you can broach the subject by asking your parent about his or her general health and happiness. If your loved one doesn’t open up, bring up some of the symptoms you have noticed. No matter how tactful you try to be, you should expect some strong emotions. Dementia can progress very slowly, and your parent might not have noticed any changes to his or her emotional or cognitive health. 

Schedule an Appointment with a Neurologist

Diagnosing dementia is a complicated process that typically requires multiple tests spread out over the course of a few weeks. You can get a recommendation from your loved one’s primary doctor, but you will eventually need to work with an experienced neurologist if you want an accurate diagnosis. To confirm the diagnosis, your parent will need to meet certain criteria on each of the tests. The neurologist will take a close look at your loved one’s memory, communication skills, visual perception, and ability to focus. 

Create a Long-Term Treatment Plan

Every case of dementia is slightly different, which means there is no treatment plan that is going to work for everyone. You and your loved one’s medical team will need to come up with a personalized plan for the coming years. In the earliest stages of this disorder, treatments often include prescription medications, brain training activities, and various forms of therapy.

Consider hiring a professional caregiver if you need help caring for a senior loved one living with dementia. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Lincoln Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.

Ask for Help

Caring for a loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia can be incredibly difficult, and this isn’t a challenge you need to take on alone. In addition to working with a team of medical specialists, you will also need to enlist the help of family and friends. As the disease progresses, you might want to start thinking about professional caregiving services so you don’t burn out.

Dementia and other types of mental health issues can adversely impact your senior loved one’s wellbeing, making it difficult to provide care for him or her. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Lincoln, NE, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. Call us at (402) 261-5158 to create a customized home care plan for your senior loved one.