Diagnosis of Dementia ?
You have just returned from visiting your elderly parents…and your father has been diagnosed with dementia. How do you react? Are you tempted to brush aside or deny such information?
Recently, research targeting older adults has revealed that the majority of elders do not know, or have not been formally diagnosed, with dementia. There is a huge population surrounding us that is living with dementia…and who don’t know about it! Nearly 60% either had not been diagnosed, or weren’t told of their diagnosis.
Elder healthcare planning? NOW is the time!
It is never too early to begin healthcare planning for elderly parents and older adults. If diagnosed with dementia, early information may be shocking. But, the sooner you know, the better.
A clarification of diagnosis assists medical treatment and planning. In addition, it enables families to begin to understand a roadmap for future care. An explanation of visual and obvious behavioral changes will help the senior and family understand what has been going on.
Family conversations with your physician will allow exploration of best treatment options, and anticipated future needs. Families can plan for the future with the fullest possible participation of their elderly. Should you begin to look at memory care facilities? Is the enlistment of a homecare agency to provide in-home memory care or other support the best step?
An early diagnosis will help families construct a proper plan for elderly parents. Understanding the disease, and its progression, is the first step. Decisions on medical professionals, housing, home support services, family communication are all involved in creating a dementia-friendly family care program.
Invariably, the set of solutions will change over time. Simple involvement in activities such as senior exercise or an art/music program may provide significant help in slowing disease progression. Best recommendation: don’t allow yourself or family to be blinded with denial. Keep your focus on maintaining the highest possible quality of life for your aging parents.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164