Finding out that a relative has been diagnosed with dementia is pretty heart-breaking. Regardless of how you feel, though, it’s important to regroup and rally around that particular loved one at of need. Just imagine how they feel? They’re likely to be scared, and fearful. Therefore you need to be there for them – as hard as it might be.
There’s no real way of knowing how quickly it’ll develop. Some people live with dementia for months; others live with it for years. There’s no set time frame. But because it’s a degenerative syndrome, it’s only certain to get worse. In the early stages it’s difficult to spot the signs of dementia – they’re so minor.
But with time a person with dementia becomes more affected and will require help and regular care – be it from a professional care giver or a family member.
Family And Dementia
Although it’s a tough task and one that requires coming to terms with the dementia full-on, it’s important for a family to get together to draw up a dementia care strategy. This task needs to be done during the early stages whilst the person with dementia is still lucid – in a condition where they can still fully communicate with their loved ones. Communication during this process is the key.
Deciding on whether they want to receive care in the home or move to a care home is one of the most important issues likely to be raised when creating a dementia care strategy. For many people with dementia, receiving care in the home is the most comfortable option. They can be in the environment they know best amongst the people they love most.
It’s often forgotten, but a home isn’t just a building. It’s a treasure trove memories – some people with dementia will have lived in their homes for many years, thus associate lots of their happiest memories with the home.
Though, this dialogue is sure to involve the family unit, it’s important that the person with dementia has the final say. Remember, it’s they who is at the centre – and that’s how it should always be.
Family members should also have a good understanding of the different types of dementia. These include vascular, Lewy body dementia, frontal temporal dementia, Korsakoff’s dementia, and, the most common, Alzheimer’s.
Although a loved one might be affected by one type of dementia during initial stages, they could become affected by multiple types over time. And that’s why it’s important to develop a real understanding of the impact each one can have.
Medical And Financial Decisions – The Final Say
Medical and financial decisions are likely to come up in discussion. All conversations relating to these issues will probably need a solicitor present to draw up legal documentation about the person with dementia’s wishes – i.e. who they’d like to appoint to be responsible for their financial and medical affairs. Again, it’s not exactly a subject that family impacted by dementia would want to talk about; but it’s definitely important.
These are just a few of the main points that should be covered in a dementia care strategy. It’s a complex document that should outline the various stages in detail.