The first few steps taken after a dementia diagnosis could impact your senior loved one’s life for many years to come. Even though there are no permanent cures for this group of disorders, there are many treatments and lifestyle changes that can minimize the symptoms and make everyday activities much easier to manage. Here is a look at a few tasks and projects to tackle before your loved one’s disorder progresses any further.
Update Legal and Financial Documents
Once your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, you must immediately start planning for the future. Before the disorder progresses too far, update all your loved one’s legal documents, including wills, trusts, advance directives, and medical power of attorney forms. You should also discuss upcoming financial obligations with the rest of the family. Taking care of these issues early on will make it much easier for everyone involved.
Find a Team of Specialists
Your loved one will still need to visit his or her primary doctor a few times a year for checkups, but general practitioners don’t have the background or expertise to come up with a long-term treatment plan for dementia. In the next few months, spend some time searching for a local medical team that specializes in dementia-related disorders. The team can give you information on symptom management techniques, experimental treatments, and daily practices that make life easier. You may also want to hire a professional La Mesa, California, caregiver with expertise in dementia care.
Make Sure Your Loved One’s Home Is Safe
You will most likely need to make at least a few changes to wherever your loved one will be living. As the disorder progresses, seemingly minor issues such as improper lighting in certain rooms or leaving cords on the floor could become major hazards. At the very least, you should go through the home and lock up or remove potentially dangerous items such as chemical cleaners, expired food products, and slippery rugs. You can also speak with your loved one’s neurological team about other changes that might need to be made around the home.
Work on Your Loved One’s Physical Health
Dementia can impact every aspect of a senior’s life, including physical health. Allowing your loved one’s physical health to decrease could exacerbate the cognitive symptoms and negatively impact his or her overall comfort. A comprehensive diet and exercise plan can drastically reduce the risk of age-related health issues ranging from diabetes to high blood pressure. Some research has also shown that the Mediterranean diet and other similar diets can slow cognitive decline.
Provide Mental Stimulation
A 2012 study published by Cochrane Library found that regular mental stimulation is one of the most effective ways to lessen the symptoms of dementia. During this study, researchers had seniors with dementia play word games, work on puzzles, listen to music, bake, garden, or carry out other similar activities for at least 30 minutes a day. Within just a few months, the seniors who engaged in these activities had much higher test scores than those in the control group.
If your loved one is living with dementia and needs help maintaining a high quality of life, reach out to Coast Care Partners, a leading provider of professional home care. La Mesa, CA, families can count on our trusted caregivers to help their senior loved ones live happier, healthier lives while managing dementia and navigating the various other challenges of aging. Call 619-354-2544 today to speak with one of our knowledgeable representatives.