Receiving a diagnosis of dementia is difficult. Even if you’ve been suspecting something was wrong, having a physician confirm it can be an emotional blow. Most older adults worry about their personal welfare in the months ahead, and what this diagnosis will mean for their spouse and adult children.
While this diagnosis is tough to hear, finding out early can help you plan for and share how you want your future care needs handled. It can also give you time to work with your physician to delay the progression of the disease and to take steps toward maintaining your independence longer.
If you’ve been diagnosed with early memory loss caused by some form of dementia, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that you’ll need to move to a memory care community immediately. In most cases, that isn’t necessary. Unless your physician has recommended a change, give yourself some time to come to terms with this information before making any major changes.
It might help to talk with a counselor or join a support group for adults living with dementia. Your local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association can connect you with a group. If you prefer to participate online, ALZConnected has forums and message boards for people with dementia to meet and support one another.
While few forms of dementia are reversible, there may be steps you can take to delay the advancement of the disease. In fact, there is a growing amount of research that shows making lifestyle modifications may help to slow the progression of dementia.
A healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean Diet, is an important one. Researchers believe the heart-healthy benefits of this type of diet also protect the brain. Other lifestyle choices that may delay the disease are exercising, staying socially involved, and engaging in mentally stimulating activities.
It will also help to find healthy ways to beat stress. Meditation, walking, swimming, and chair yoga might be options to consider.
The Alzheimer’s Association has regional offices located across the country. Connecting with yours early will be beneficial. Team members have experience supporting both the person with dementia, as well as their family members. The staff will be able to assist you with details ranging from conducting a home safety assessment to purchasing a personal safety alarm.
If you haven’t already done so, you’ll want to take time to meet with an attorney to have important legal documents created. They can help you determine what you need, such as a will, a power of attorney, or a trust. You can search the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys database to find an elder law attorney near you.
It will probably give you and your family members peace of mind to know about the wide range of dementia care options that are available near you. From dedicated memory care communities to home care agencies that specialize in Alzheimer’s care, the choices are plentiful.
One of our experienced senior care advisors will be happy to guide you and your family through the options available in your community. Our advice is always free for older adults and their loved ones. Call us today at 888-514-6461 to learn more.