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Watching a loved one progress through the stages of dementia may rank as one of the most difficult things you do in life. Determining when that loved one should enter a senior community and then selecting the right community are also difficult tasks.
You’re going to feel stress. Guilt may become all too familiar. The process may change how you view your own life.
If it feels overwhelming, you don’t have to work through these steps alone. We can do all the work for you completely free. Let’s start right now by exploring the stages that all dementia patients experience.
If video information is more digestible, then scroll down for the video. It’s got all the information you need.
Planning for What’s to Come
If you’re looking into the stages of dementia, now is the time to start planning. If you don’t have a dedicated caretaker willing and able to care for your loved one in a private setting, you will eventually need to get them into a senior community that offers the services they need to live safely and comfortably.
The following checklist will help you do as much as possible to prepare for what’s to come. The earlier you start on this list, the more likely your loved one will have the mental capacity to participate in decision-making.
- Determine the transition of care as your senior progresses with dementia symptoms. When will you need help with senior placement? That’s a personal decision. Even if they are able to provide some care for themselves, isolation is a serious concern.
- Settle any issues regarding the will.
- Make sure you have consent to speak to medical professionals, doctor’s offices, and hospitals. You may need an official power of attorney for healthcare purposes.
- Arrange for funeral and burial services.
The biggest thing you will prepare is your mind. Caring for yourself is just as important as caring for your loved one. It may help to read one of the following recommended books for caregivers:
How do you know what stage of dementia you’re in?
Determining the current stage starts by understanding what characterizes each stage. From there, you can compare what’s happening with your loved one to determine the most appropriate stage.
You should also consult with a medical provider familiar with your senior’s current condition. They will help you determine the dementia stage today and in the future.
Let’s look at each stage so that you can make educated decisions on behalf of your senior.
The Early Stages of Dementia
Symptoms of dementia are mild to nonexistent in the beginning. With time, you may start to notice gradual changes in memory, communication, mental focus, and mood. That is when you’re likely to receive an official diagnosis of dementia.
This early stage often includes short periods of confusion or reduced concentration followed by periods of clarity. They may forget about recent events or ask the same questions repeatedly. They may seem to struggle to remember certain words, but communication impairment isn’t severe at this stage.
Some mood swings and social withdrawal is common. You may need to start helping with daily tasks. They may forget where they are at times, which means no more driving or going places alone. You may also need to take over finances as well to ensure bills are paid on time.
Your loved one may try to explain away or deny their forgetfulness in this stage. It will become more and more obvious to others.
The Middle Stages of Dementia
This is one of the most difficult stages of dementia for loved ones to accept. Memory deficiencies become more severe. It’s possible they may not know where they are, what day it is, or who is president. They may not recognize you or other loved ones.
Your loved one will need more extensive help with daily activities at this point. They will need a lot of supervision and companionship due to incontinence, compulsive behavior, delusions, anxiety, and potential depression.
The Late Stages of Dementia
The late stage of dementia is a quieter period. Your loved one will gradually stop trying to communicate. They will need direct care as their motor skills deteriorate. Many patients cannot walk and struggle to talk if they can at all.
After Your Loved One Passes Away
If you were diligent planning for the stages of dementia, you will have less to do once your loved one passes. You have moved through the all the stages while preparing your mind to accept the fact that death is inevitable. Your job at this point is to give them a warm, comforting sendoff and then follow up on the funeral and burial plans that are already set.
If you’re in the planning stage and need assistance finding the best senior community for someone with dementia, contact one of our advisors today. We help you prepare for senior placement with less stress.