Being diagnosed with dementia can spark a flurry of questions and concerns, especially if the person getting this news is your older parent. Fortunately, a doctor or appropriate specialist should be able to provide answers to any questions you or your parent may have. Below, you’ll find six things to include on your list of questions to ask when your parent receives a dementia diagnosis.
1. Does My Parent Fully Understand the Diagnosis?
According to Alzheimers.net, about half of all individuals with dementia fail to realize their cognitive abilities are diminished. However, the actual answer to this question will depend on when your parent is diagnosed and how far the condition has already progressed. Some seniors with dementia initially understand the diagnosis and become less aware of it later as the condition progresses.
2. Does Dementia Automatically Mean Alzheimer’s?
While Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, there are many other types of dementia, some of which are easier to handle than others. For this reason, a good follow-up question to ask is “What type of dementia does my parent have?” Because there’s no single test to diagnose dementia, the answer is often based on symptoms and a review of the various tests and assessments used to make the initial diagnosis.
3. What Can Be Expected as Dementia Progresses?
Each person with dementia will progress differently. That being said, dementia does typically advance in stages, and symptoms gradually become more noticeable and disruptive to daily routines and cognitive functions. Ask what’s normally experienced with your parent’s type of dementia to get a better idea of what to expect so you can prepare yourself emotionally and plan for your loved one’s care.
Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional caregivers. 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 leading provider of home care services Castle Rock, CO, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
4. What Caregiving Steps Need to Be Taken?
Initially, it’s often recommended that daily routines be kept as familiar as possible. It’s also important to encourage your parent to remain independent while you provide necessary assistance with certain tasks to maintain your parent’s comfort and safety. Dementia-related care may also involve:
• Talking to your parent about his or her care preferences while he or she is still able to have a say in such matters
• Making appropriate home modifications to maintain safety
• Considering in-home assistance for times when care needs become more time-consuming or too demanding
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
5. Could My Parent’s Dementia Be Something Else?
A dementia diagnosis is considered a “diagnosis of exclusion,” meaning it’s based on excluding other possible reasons for memory-related issues. Because there are contributing factors that may have been overlooked during the initial evaluation, it can be helpful to ask for a second opinion or a referral to a specialist, especially if your parent hasn’t yet had the Mini-Mental State Examination—a highly regarded test that often helps with the diagnostic process. Dementia-like symptoms are sometimes related to:
• Medication side effects
• Low levels of certain vitamins, such as B12
• Thyroid issues
• Sleep-related problems
• Undiagnosed depression
• Parkinson’s disease
6. Can Anything Be Done to Slow the Progression of Dementia?
It’s common for medication to be prescribed to slow the changes in the brain that contribute to dementia-related symptoms. For Alzheimer’s, there are currently five FDA-approved medications used for this purpose. Some seniors with dementia also benefit from cognitive therapies, ongoing mental stimulation, regular exercise, a healthy diet, and memory-stimulating activities.
A professional caregiver trained in dementia care can be a fantastic source of support for you and your loved one. Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Castle Rock live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or is recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional live-in caregivers from Home Care Assistance to enhance his or her quality of life. Trust Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate, professional home care for your loved one. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at 720-580-5378.