When your loved one is diagnosed with dementia or other memory loss conditions, you become an advocate for their health. Due to the symptoms associated, your loved one will increasingly need care for things that seemed basic before, like remembering to eat, taking medication, turning the stove off, and more. How can you make sure you’re your loved one’s best advocate?
Adjust Your Expectations
The most important part of being the person in your loved one’s corner is understanding their limitations and meeting them where they are. When you have a full scope of where their abilities start and end, you’re able to communicate their needs and capabilities better. Additionally, as a caretaker, you’ll likely have days that test your patience. When your expectations match your loved one’s reality, it makes it easier to stay cool, calm, and collected in challenging moments.
Plan for Later Now
It may seem like putting the cart before the horse, but it benefits everyone when you start planning for when your loved one’s memory loss progresses before their cognitive abilities decline. Early intervention allows you to start routines that maintain and prolong their abilities, but it also means that you can have more concrete discussions about their care for the future. Start talking to your loved one sooner about their legal, medical, and care decisions so you can better advocate for them later down the road.
Don’t shy away from joining your loved ones for their errands and appointments. In fact, it might be essential to do so. Many older people with memory loss and dementia perform what’s referred to as “showtiming” when they visit their doctor. This refers to the habit of downplaying symptoms and hardships for various reasons, including embarrassment, denial, fear, or even because they just plain forgot. Being in the room with your loved one and their doctor means you can give a more straightforward picture of what’s going on in their life and can make sure their doctor is responding to their hardships appropriately.
Get Help When You Need It
Caring for people with illnesses or disabilities can take a village. Often people suffering from memory loss or dementia can become frustrated and lash out. It may be difficult for you to understand what’s going in inside their mind, but the good news is that there are experts ready to help you. That may mean speaking with a medical professional or even moving your loved one into specialized residential care.
Many caregivers avoid residential care until their loved one’s condition has become unmanageable. However, the benefits of introducing memory care early can set your loved one up for the best outcomes. Memory care facilities are equipped to maintain routines and activities optimized to care for and maintain the abilities of those with memory loss. They’ll benefit from 24/7 care and professionals who understand their condition. Don’t believe us? Take it from this Eddy resident’s family member:
“The staff at all levels– administrative, nursing, therapy, aides, and dietary– seek to provide supportive and warm care. There are varied and fun activities provided that have helped my sister-in-law to enjoy her days and maintain the cognitive capacity she has. She frequently tells me how happy she is at Marjorie Doyle Rockwell.”
Being the best advocate possible means acting in your loved one’s best interest. Making those decisions can be difficult, but you’re not alone! To start the discussion about moving into a memory care facility, schedule a visit today.