Watching a loved one vanish before your eyes is one of the toughest things any family can endure, but the essence of a person, shaped by memories and personality, fades with the progression of dementia. It is important for the senior facing memory loss to accept reality (once the diagnosis is confirmed by a doctor) and plan for the future in order to preserve their dignity and well-being.
Choices are involved in any major life change. Researching the disease helps to know what to expect and plan accordingly, bringing some comfort to an otherwise uncertain future. Experiencing a range of emotions after the diagnosis is normal, according to the Alzheimer’s Association (AA). Fear, hope, despair, and denial are to be expected, but accepting reality and preparing can help to manage the disease.
If the person with Alzheimer’s will remain in a home setting, a designated caregiver will need to check the home for safety and do things such as shopping or preparing meals for them. Friends, family and neighbors are all part of a support network, but they can only help if they know what help is needed or may be needed in the future.
Preparing arrangements as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed by a doctor works better than trying to find help in an emergency situation.
It is vital to identify a decision-maker the senior trusts because as the disease progresses into later stages, he or she may lose the legal capacity to make important decisions about care, property and other wishes. Although these are difficult and complex things to talk about, AA recommends resisting the urge to procrastinate because the sooner discussions are had, the more involved the affected parties can be in decisions such as legal planning, financial planning, caregiver choice, and end-of-life planning.
Sometimes a senior needs more help than they can get relying on a family member. Even with the best of intentions, family may not be well suited to face the struggles that come with Alzheimer’s because compassion, strength and patience are necessary. A structured community may offer them the best chance of leading a more productive, active and engaged life.
Regency’s Renaissance Centre is one such solution. It offers a safe, secure environment, complete with an enclosed outdoor courtyard. It was created specifically to care for those with Alzheimer’s and other memory related disorders. The goal is to maintain the senior’s dignity and provide a place of comfort.
This is just one option in the range of care possibilities, but Regency is pleased that we can provide an alternative to families as they accept and adapt to Alzheimer’s and dementia. To learn more about Regency Retirement Community of Morristown, call (423) 581-7075.