If you are caring for an older adult with cognitive decline, you’re well aware of the range of emotions involved. On one hand, it is a huge honor and incredibly rewarding. On the other hand, it is often challenging, draining, and demanding. Add to that the other struggles inherent with cognitive decline, and it is easy to grasp how family care providers can quickly become bogged down.
Cognitive performance can decline slowly, or it may decline apparently overnight, depending on the cause (Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, traumatic brain injury, or Parkinson’s, just to name a few). Regardless of the reason for someone’s cognitive decline, there are steps loved ones can take to offer the best degree of care.
- Observe the person’s baseline behaviors and the specific changes you are seeing.
- Schedule a thorough examination with the primary care physician for an accurate diagnosis and to eliminate other medical conditions.
- Ask the physician for educational information on the diagnosis to help you be fully informed about what you may anticipate, and to share with other members of the family.
- Analyze the person’s needs – both today and ongoing, as needs are likely to change with time. Think about physical along with emotional concerns, including their ability to:
- Tend to personal cleanliness tasks
- Manage housekeeping, meals, laundry, along with other tasks around the house
- Preserve social ties and stay involved in enjoyable activities
- Make it to medical visits, take care of grocery shopping, as well as other needs outside of the home
- Stay safe: from wandering, falls, medication mismanagement, and more
- Develop a strategy to meet any needs identified.
- Review finances and legal documents to make sure someone has been designated as power of attorney so that the person’s wishes will be followed and decisions made on their behalf when required.
- Find support – through a web-based or in-person group for family care providers, as well as for the specific diagnosis if possible.
The crucial thing to remember is that you’re not alone! Abby Senior Care, a dedicated provider of at-home care in Denver and the nearby areas, is always on hand to work together with you, offering opportunities for you to step away from your caregiving responsibilities for your own personal needs and interests. Taking good care of yourself is crucial to having the ability to effectively look after somebody else. Schedule ongoing, regular time away for self-care including:
- Working out – at least 20 minutes of physical exercise 3 times a week, or per doctor’s suggestions
- Healthy eating – avoid the drive-through and quick, sugary, or salty treats and opt for more nutritious options
- Rest – something that is increasingly challenging when looking after a loved one with cognitive decline, but vitally important
- Health and dental examinations – including caring for your mental health to prevent caregiver burnout and depression
- Relaxing, satisfying activities – reading, a coffee date with a friend, and whatever hobbies brighten your day
Want to learn more about how home care services can help when caring for an older adult with cognitive decline? Contact Abby Senior Care, a trusted provider of at-home care in Denver and the surrounding areas, at 303-699-8840 for more information regarding our respite care services, supplied by fully trained and experienced senior care professionals. Request a no-cost consultation and let us help you ensure the best possible care for someone you love with cognitive decline – and, for yourself.