Receiving the news that an older family member has been diagnosed with dementia is life-altering. Thinking through the various aspects and factors of the disease, both now as well as in the long term, can be overwhelming.
In the coming months, our three-part series on Alzheimer’s will look at the early, middle and later stages of dementia. We will detail the type of care recommended during each stage, what family caregivers should expect, and how At Home Care Company, the premier provider of dementia care in Des Moines, IA and surrounding areas, can help.
Dementia in the Early Stages: Caregiving
If you’ve just recently stepped into the role of being a caregiver for a loved one in the early stage of Alzheimer’s, we have the help and the hope you need. The first step is to take a deep breath and find comfort in knowing you’re not the only one. There are more than 50 million people currently living with dementia throughout the world, and ten million new diagnoses every year.
It is also helpful to be aware that the beginning stage of dementia may last for many years, often with treatment options available to slow the advancement of the disease. And, many seniors during the early stage are dealing with limited cognitive challenges – meaning you have the opportunity to work jointly to put into place an approach that covers each of the older adult’s wishes related to finances, legal matters, and long-term care.
Keeping that in mind, following are the changes you may expect both for your senior loved one and yourself.
Dementia in the Early Stages: Impact on the Senior Diagnosed:
- Becoming lost in familiar places
- Losing track of time
- Fear and/or denial
May benefit from assistance and support with:
- Setting up and keeping appointments
- Financial management
- Recalling familiar places, words, and names
Dementia in the Early Stages: Impact on the Family Caregiver:
- Stress, anxiety, fear, and uncertainty about what the future will hold
- Frustration, anger, and resentment
- A loss of control
- Grief, sadness, and hopelessness
- Denial and a feeling of disbelief
Can benefit from:
- Prioritizing self-care: getting lots of rest, eating a well-balanced diet, exercising, and setting aside time for relaxing activities
- Engaging the services of a mental health professional if needed
- Developing a network of friends and family who will be willing to help
- Finding and attending a support group (either online or in-person)
- Becoming knowledgeable on the disease, treatment options, and what to expect as it progresses
A professional home care provider, like At-Home Care Company, is an excellent asset for family members caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Starting home care services now, in the earliest stage, is imperative to building trust and rapport with the older adult – something which will likely be vital as the dementia moves into subsequent stages. Additionally, it allows family caregivers the chance for ongoing, regularly scheduled breaks from care. Our professionally trained and experienced care experts are highly skilled and up to date on the most effective dementia care techniques.
We can also provide you with helpful resources targeted to any specific challenges you are facing. Just call us at (515) 292-2650 to learn more about our compassionate dementia care in Des Moines, IA and the surrounding communities, and to request a free in-home consultation. With At-Home Care Company, you are never alone; we’re here to walk with you every step of the way.