According to Alzheimers.net, nearly every 70 seconds, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. Even if you knew a diagnosis of dementia was possibly coming, it can still be a shock for you and your senior loved one. Once a diagnosis has been made, it’s important to get answers to important questions, such as the ones suggested below.
How Was This Diagnosis Made?
Develop a better understanding of what kinds of assessments and tests were done to arrive at the dementia diagnosis. This information can give you a better idea of what symptoms are more prominent in your loved one and whether it’s worth considering a second opinion, especially if you believe the initial evaluation wasn’t thorough enough.
Could Symptoms Be Related to a Reversible Source?
Having dementia-like symptoms doesn’t always mean the actual source is dementia. Respectfully ask your loved one’s diagnosing physician if symptoms that suggested dementia may be related to reversible sources. Possibilities include:
• A vitamin B12 deficiency
• Medication reactions
• Undiagnosed depression
• Vision or hearing problems
Is It Alzheimer’s?
This is what many people assume when a diagnosis of dementia is made. While Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, there are many other dementia-related conditions. Whether the verdict is Alzheimer’s or not, knowing what type of dementia is involved can help you and your loved one know what to expect.
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 Sonoma County 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.
What Is My Loved One’s Stage of Dementia?
Because it’s not unusual for a diagnosis to come several years after early symptoms were first noticed, it’s a good idea to ask what stage of dementia your loved one is in at the moment. Knowing this will give you a better idea of how to get started with your caregiving efforts.
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 elderly home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
How Long Do Stages Generally Last?
In some cases, initial symptoms come on slowly and progress before leveling off prior to reaching more advanced stages. At other times, patterns are less predictable. For instance, with Alzheimer’s, the middle stage can last for many years.
What Medications Might Help?
With Alzheimer’s, there are five FDA-approved drugs specifically used to manage or slow symptoms. Learn more about what kinds of medications may achieve this goal for your loved one. Also, ask about potential side effects.
What Non-Drug Therapies/Adjustments Might Be Helpful?
Many forms of dementia aren’t reversible. However, your loved one’s doctor may be able to recommend non-drug therapies or lifestyle adjustments to help with things like memory retention, muscle strength, sleep patterns, focus, and coordination. Options of this nature often include:
• Memory-stimulating activities
• Regular exercise
• Dietary adjustments
Some seniors with dementia also respond well to bright light therapy, aromatherapy, and occupational therapy to address behaviors. There’s also evidence that art-related and music-based therapies may be beneficial.
What Resources Are Available?
It’s not easy for either you or your loved one to accept a diagnosis of dementia. You may also feel overwhelmed at first, so it can be helpful to ask about available resources, which might include helpful websites, referrals to local in-home care agencies, and support groups so you and your loved one can get some extra emotional support.
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 Sonoma County 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. To hire a dedicated caregiver, call Home Care Assistance at (707) 843.4368 today.