If you are providing care for an older relative, you’re well aware of the wide range of feelings involved. On one hand, it’s a huge honor and incredibly rewarding. Having said that, it is often taxing, draining, and stressful. Add to that the extra struggles inherent in caring for a senior with cognitive decline, and it is easy to grasp how family caregivers can quickly become overwhelmed.
Cognitive function can decline gradually, or seemingly overnight, depending on the root cause (Alzheimer’s or another kind of dementia, traumatic brain injury, or Parkinson’s, just to name a few). Whatever the reason for a person’s cognitive decline, there are measures loved ones can take to provide the best level of care.
- Notice the person’s baseline behaviors and the particular changes you are witnessing.
- Make arrangements for a thorough exam with the primary care physician for an accurate diagnosis and to eliminate other medical conditions.
- Ask the physician for educational resources regarding the diagnosis in order to be fully informed as to what you may anticipate, and to share with other relatives.
- Examine the senior’s needs – both today and ongoing, as needs could be expected to change with time. Consider physical along with emotional concerns, such as their capacity to:
- Tend to personal hygiene tasks
- Manage meals, laundry, housekeeping, as well as other chores around the residence
- Keep up with social ties and remain engaged in meaningful activities
- Make it to medical visits, take care of trips to the market, along with other needs outside of the home
- Remain safe: from falls, medication mismanagement, wandering, and more
- Establish a strategy to meet any needs identified.
- Examine finances and legal paperwork to make sure someone has been selected as power of attorney to ensure the person’s wishes will be followed and decisions made on their behalf when required.
- Find support – through an online or in-person group for family care providers, as well as for the specific diagnosis if at all possible.
The crucial thing to bear in mind is you’re not alone! Home With You Senior Care, a trusted provider of home care in Stevenson, MD and the surrounding communities, is always readily available to work alongside you, offering opportunities for you to take a break from your caregiving responsibilities for your own personal needs and interests. Looking after yourself is essential to being able to successfully take care of a loved one. Schedule ongoing, regular time away for self-care including:
- Working out – at least 20 minutes of physical exercise 3 times per week, or per doctor’s guidelines.
- Healthy eating – avoid the drive-through and quick, sugary, or salty snack foods and opt for nutritious alternatives
- Sleep – something which is extremely challenging when taking care of a person with cognitive decline, but vitally important
- Medical and dental checkups – including taking care of your mental health to protect yourself from caregiver burnout and depression
- Relaxing, enjoyable activities – reading, a lunch date with a good friend, and whatever hobbies and interests brighten your day
Contact Home With You Senior Care at 410-756-0959 for additional details on our respite care services, supplied by fully trained and experienced senior care professionals. Request a cost-no-cost consultation and let us help you guarantee the most effective care for a person you love with cognitive decline – and, for yourself.