So, you just got the news from the doctor, and you walk away feeling like Wiley Coyote post-falling-grand-piano-accident. You’re shocked and crushed, but also somewhat validated. You knew something was wrong, but you’d hoped…not this.
Your loved one has dementia.
You instantly picture the first conversations about this after diagnosis. The arguments. The heartache. You imagine telling your family and friends. Who will make the decisions? Will your newly diagnosed loved one LET YOU delegate, or even HELP?
Maybe you have quite the support system. Maybe you’re utterly alone. Either way, inevitably, dementia will progress, and your loved one will change.
Dementia is virtually impossible to predict, and it affects everyone very differently. There are many different kinds of dementia. And dementia is full of unpleasant surprises, sometimes on a daily basis.
No matter how much patience, understanding, compassion, and–for goodness sake—LOVE you have in your heart for this person, your loved one is going to need a kind of help that you simply are not able to provide. You cannot provide this for them because you are not a trained professional. You have a job, a life, other responsibilities you need to attend to. You have your own health to contend with. And you cannot provide the care they really need, because—let’s face it—it’s too personal.
So, stop beating yourself up. It’s time to think about THE BIG MOVE. It’s time to look into memory care communities.
But sometimes your loved one seems to be ok.
The problem is dementia is unpredictable. Today they may have forgotten that they asked the same question over and over. But tomorrow they may take a double dose of their pills because they forgot they took the first one. Or wander along a busy street looking for who knows what.
So, what can you do?
First, educate yourself. I highly recommend The 36 Hour Day by Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins.
Two, look at multiple memory care communities. They are not all the same, and one may stand apart in a way that will fit your loved one perfectly.
Three, DO NOT—I repeat—DO NOT WAIT TOO LONG. As their dementia progresses, their care needs will increase. You do not want to have to make this decision because it’s suddenly an emergency.
Finally, be confident that you will make the best decision for your loved one.
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©Kyah Feldes 2018