When one member of the family has been diagnosed with dementia the dynamic will inevitably change, and some questions will come up like, "Who will make the decisions now that dad cannot? Who will give advice now that mom is unable to? Who will provide the care for your family member? And will there be help in sharing that burden of care?" Emotions can run very high, and family life can suddenly feel chaotic. This is pretty typical of a family who has a member with dementia so take a step back, take a deep breath and begin to take inventory of what you need to do. It's helpful to discuss denial at this point. You know everyone has their own emotional timeline and some people simply cannot handle the news that a family member has been diagnosed with dementia and some deep emotional shifts are bound to occur. The emotion of denial cushions the blow for the person who cannot cope with these big changes, which is a fairly common thing in families where dementia is present. The problem with denial is that it can disrupt caregiving and planning. So those family members who are capable of being problem solvers need to come together quickly for the sake of the loved one who has dementia.
Let's talk about some common sense caregiving tips. Now it might not be a walk in the park initially but try to bring the pragmatic caregivers together to get a plan of care in place as soon as possible. Try to take a rational approach to this rather than an emotional approach, and keep the end goal in mind: that the loved one with dementia receives the support and care that he or she needs. And if you're able to keep that goal in mind and avoid any theatrics then the planning will be much easier. However if that's unavoidable then therapist can help facilitate the emotional dialogues for the family in a safe environment, which in turn helps to minimize the anxiety for the person with dementia.
Thoughtful Healthcare offers 24 hour in-home care tailored to your loved one's needs. We've been serving Kansas City and the surrounding areas since 1999. Now back to the podcast.
So how do we go about delegating this? Well first look for the natural roles within the family. Some people for example are better suited for financial or medical decision making than others, and those others might be better at taking care of the home and the needs within. But everybody needs to have a role, even if the person who lacks pragmatic strengths the plan is there. Don't expect tasks to be divided equally but try not to burden one member of the family with more than what is reasonable. So factor in some of these realities: the geographic location of everybody, scheduling availability, people's natural ability to communicate, their strengths and their weaknesses, their willingness to help and their financial ability to support the care needed. Recognize that everyone is human. So be as patient and understanding as you can with all members of your family.
How can you make this process easier on ourselves? First, create some action list within the family to achieve the stated goal. You can use a group email list to keep everyone informed even if they are unwilling or unable to help. Avoid secrecy and be as transparent as possible, this will help avoid many many problems. Encourage everyone to leave their agendas at the door, because having individual agendas in this process will sew chaos. And accept your family members for who they are, not who you want them to be. Finally keep in mind that dealing with dementia is very very hard, that's a universal fact. So seek out support groups through the Parkinson's Foundation and the Alzheimer's Association. Find other people who have dealt or who are dealing with the things you're dealing with, and take notes for what they use to become successful. Some members of the family will not be as strong as others or as helpful. And if you're truly alone in the caregiving role, look for outside help. Whether an in-home service like Thoughtfulcare, community resources or the Internet. Remember dementia progresses at uneven rates and it can take you by surprise. So be prepared. Be patient but be as thorough in your planning as possible and ask for help from your family you might be surprised by who is willing to lend a hand. Thank you.
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