If you are providing care for a senior family member, you’re well aware of the range of emotions involved. On one hand, it’s a great honor and extremely rewarding. Having said that, it can also be challenging, exhausting, and stressful. Add to that the particular concerns regarding cognitive decline, and it’s simple to grasp how family members caring for seniors can quickly become overwhelmed.
Cognitive function can decrease gradually, or it can decline seemingly overnight, depending on the cause (Alzheimer’s or another kind of dementia, traumatic brain injury, or Parkinson’s, just to name a few). Whatever the cause of a person’s cognitive decline, there are steps loved ones can take to offer the best possible care.
- Take note of the person’s baseline behaviors and also the particular changes you’re witnessing.
- Schedule a comprehensive exam with the primary care physician for an accurate diagnosis and to eliminate other health conditions.
- Ask the physician for educational tools regarding the diagnosis to help you be fully informed as to what to expect, and to share with other loved ones.
- Evaluate the senior’s needs – both today and ongoing, as needs are likely to change over time. Think about physical as well as emotional concerns, such as their ability to:
- Take care of personal hygiene tasks
- Deal with meals, laundry, housekeeping, along with other chores around the home
- Keep up with social ties and stay engaged in enjoyable activities
- Get to medical appointments, take care of trips to the market, along with other needs outside of the home
- Stay safe: from wandering, falls, medication mismanagement, and more
- Create a strategy to fulfill any needs identified.
- Evaluate finances and legal files to make certain someone has been specified as power of attorney so that the person’s wishes will be implemented and decisions made on their behalf when required.
- Find help – through an online or in-person group for family care providers, and also for the specific diagnosis if possible.
The most important thing to bear in mind is you are not alone! Grace Home Care is always readily available to work alongside you, offering opportunities for you to step away from your caregiving duties for your own personal needs and interests. Looking after yourself is essential to having the ability to successfully care for somebody else. Schedule ongoing, regular time away for self-care such as:
- Physical activity – at least 20 minutes of exercise three times a week, or per doctor’s guidelines.
- Healthy eating – avoid fast food and quick, sugary, or salty treats and opt for nutritious choices
- Rest – something that is increasingly difficult when caring for a senior with cognitive decline, but very important
- Health and dental examinations – including looking after your mental health to protect yourself from caregiver burnout and depression
- Comforting, enjoyable activities – reading, a lunch date with a good friend, and whatever interests and hobbies brighten up your day
Contact Grace Home Care at 785-286-2273 to learn more about our home care and memory care in Topeka, offered by fully trained and experienced in-home care professionals. Request a complimentary consultation and let us help you ensure the most effective care for a senior you love with cognitive decline – and, for yourself.