So your loved one has received that dreaded diagnosis: Dementia / Alzheimers. What now? After the initial shock has worn off and you come to terms with the new reality, what now?
Thinking back, here are 5 things to do which I think are helpful in those early stages. You may have others – why not pop them in a comment below so others in this community can benefit.
- Education yourself – they say knowledge is power. Become a dementia friend – https://www.dementiafriendly.org.au/user/register.
Watch the videos including: “Getting to know dementia”, “What it feels like” and “Creating change”. Read the information in the resource section. Have a look at the Fact Sheets here –
- Have a good look around at care facilities so when the time comes, you will be ready with a place you are happy with. It is not a fun thing to think about but if you do it early, you may have better options and you definitely want the best possible option. You may think, as most of us do/did, I will never put my loved one in a care facility. You may not, you may be one of the heroes who can look after them at home. To do that you will have to stop work and be great at nursing type functions. I would recommend looking and, if needed go on a waiting list, so you do have a good option available if the time comes.
- Make a photo book of their story with descriptions to help them remember. These days there are so many websites available to make a great photo book. I made one for my parents and they loved to look at it – it brightened up their day when I would go through it with them.
- Enjoy every moment with your loved one. It is too easy to let them frustrate you – remind yourself it is the disease not them. Cherish the good times and, in the not so good times, be patient with them, breathe, have a break and do something you love doing as an outlet.
- Join the “A Long Farewell – My Loved One has Dementia” group on Facebook and let’s journey together