Dementia symptoms typically develop slowly and may only become noticeable when memory lapses become more of a disruption to daily routines. Oftentimes, however, it’s assumed such issues are a normal part of the aging process. But when a senior loved one does have an assessment, it’s understandable to be overwhelmed and concerned if the diagnosis is a dementia-based condition. Here are five things caregivers should ask after this type of diagnosis is made.
1. How Well Will My Loved One Understand the Diagnosis?
If the diagnosis is made during the early stages of dementia, your loved one may initially understand it fairly well and have just as many questions as you do. However, U.S. News & World Report cites research noting approximately half of all people with dementia fail to grasp the full extent of their cognitive impairment.
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 senior home care Tucson, AZ, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
2. How Will Dementia Progress Over Time?
Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia, is a progressive condition that typically advances in stages characterized by increasingly worsening symptoms. That being said, with some types of dementia, symptoms are fairly consistent. Take time to learn more about your loved one’s specific type of dementia and what’s commonly associated with it to have a better idea of what to expect. With Alzheimer’s, the middle stage may last for many years before progressing to the last stage.
3. Is It Actually Alzheimer’s?
As mentioned above, Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, which is why many people assume a diagnosis of dementia automatically means Alzheimer’s. This may very well be the case for your loved one, but he or she could have a form of dementia that’s not Alzheimer’s. Possibilities include:
• Lewy body dementia, which affects memory and movement
• Vascular dementia, which develops after a stroke or other disruption of blood flow to the brain
• Parkinson’s dementia, which is associated with Parkinson’s disease
• Frontotemporal dementia, which affects personality and behavior more than memory
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 Tucson 24-hour 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.
4. Can I Get a Second Opinion for My Loved One?
Diagnosing dementia is often a process of elimination that involves ruling out other possible sources of the symptoms observed. If you have doubts about the diagnosis, a reputable doctor should be willing to refer your loved one to a specialist or welcome input from another doctor. In some cases, dementia-like symptoms may be misinterpreted as dementia when they could be related to:
• Abnormally low levels of vitamin B-12
• Medication issues
• Thyroid problems
• Sleep deprivation or insomnia
• Depression or other undiagnosed mental health issues
5. What Steps Should I Take Next?
If the diagnosis of dementia is confirmed with certainty, get some advice from your loved one’s doctor about recommended steps to take next. Typically, it’s best to carefully monitor symptoms and offer the level of assistance that’s needed. It’s also a good idea to discuss future care preferences with your loved one while he or she can still make sound decisions about such things as:
• Designated family caregiver preference
• Whether he or she prefers to have a power of attorney prepared
• Professional care options that might include in-home care
• Later-stage care
• Final arrangements and plans
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 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. Call Home Care Assistance at (520) 214-5440 to learn more about our flexible and customizable senior care plans.