There is going to be some inevitable and understandable emotional turmoil when your are tasked with creating a care plan for someone you love, and if you are considering your options for a loved one who is suffering from memory loss, this can cause you to be blinded by love and unintentionally make some basic mistakes, with difficult consequences.
The option of assisted living is one viable solution to your care plan and there are a number of options and considerations to take into account. Here is a look at some of the common mistakes that can easily be made when you are emotionally attached to the person needing help, and how to get on the right track with the assistance that they need.
When the time is right
Probably the most common mistake made in such a difficult situation as when a loved is diagnosed as suffering from dementia, is leaving it too long before making the painful and difficult decision to seek help with their care.
You would definitely not be alone if you find yourself struggling with the overwhelming decision to arrange the sort of care and help that your loved one clearly needs. Our natural and caring inclination is often to put off such a difficult decision and hope that things don’t get any worse, even if they don’t get any better.
If you want to do the right thing for your loved one, which of course is your primary consideration, the decision to hire a professional caregiver and to seek help with their condition as soon as possible, should be done as early as possible.
It is perfectly understandable that you might want to sit it out to see how things progress, or you simply find it so difficult to make such a painful and potentially life changing decision, but seeking help as early as possible will often allow someone to feel more comfortable later on, as their memory loss accelerates.
Assessing their care needs
Another good reason why you would want to get a professional opinion on your loved one’s current state of memory loss, is that this insight will prove invaluable in giving you the chance to accurately assess their current and future care needs.
In the early stages of dementia, it may well be the assumption as well as a practical solution, that a family member is able to take on some of the necessary care giving duties.
It should be remembered that however well-meaning and practical the solution of appointing a family member as the primary caregiver seems, the reality for many, is that it is soon discovered that going it alone like this, is not really a viable option.
It goes without saying that caregiver requires a substantial commitment and is physically and mentally demanding and draining. It makes sense to have a family discussion about how this care plan is going to pan out, and it is critical that the needs of the loved one with dementia are adequately met, as well as ensuring that the primary caregiver has the level of support that they will need.
Developing a routine
A common mistake made by many families, despite their obvious good intentions, is to miss the opportunity to develop a routine for your loved one at the early stages of the disease.
It has been shown that if you can create a structured routine for your loved one at the very early stages of Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia, this can be very beneficial for them, as it improves their ability to cope and feel more comfortable with their surroundings, once the condition starts to progressively get worse.
There is no question that keeping a sense of structure and familiarity for your loved one, despite their fading understanding or recognition of their surroundings, will help them stay as orientated as possible.
Try to work out a workable routine that involves getting up, dressing for the day, mealtimes and other daily activities, all taking place at the same time every day. If you know that you can work to this routine, stick to it, as it will help.
Keeping communication going
You will need to be prepared for changes in behavior. Dementia often involves uncharacteristic displays of aggression, which can be upsetting if this is not what you are expecting.
Remember that your loved one is not likely to be in control of their cognitive functions as they once were, so avoid getting frustrated by their actions and try to keep the communication going, by speaking slowly and clearly where required, and showing tolerance for what might be worryingly aggressive behavior.
Maya Tucker cares for her Mother in law who has dementia. She writes articles to raise awareness, and offer help and support to people online who are going through a similar situation.