The aging process can make it difficult to continue pursuing activities a person once loved. It’s normal to slow down a bit with age, but many caregivers mistakenly assume that apathy and disconnection are normal parts of aging. According to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry, apathy is actually a significant health risk factor that doubles the risk of developing dementia.
Love is a powerful force, especially when it motivates you to provide loving care for a senior loved one. Love can motivate you to keep going when you’re exhausted, be patient when you’re overwhelmed, and give up once-beloved hobbies to care for a loved one. More than 30 million Americans are driven by love and concern to provide unpaid care to an ailing loved one. And while their sacrifice is laudable, love isn’t always enough. Love can’t build more hours into the day, or eliminate the need to sleep. It can’t free you of your own need for downtime and loving human connection. Assisted living and memory care, however, can help bridge the gap between what you want to do for your loved one and what you’re able to offer.
A simple conversation can be life-changing for a person with dementia. Dementia can feel isolating and frightening, but warm conversations remind people with dementia that they matter and they’re not alone. Supporting a person with dementia to overcome communication barriers can improve their quality of life. One study even found that just an hour of social interaction a week improves quality of life in seniors with dementia. Conversation can also ease the stress that caregivers and loved ones feel by reminding them that their loved one may be struggling, but they’re still in there. So get talking. Here’s how:
The warning signs of dementia can be subtle at first, especially if your parent lives on the other side of the country. By the time the signs become obvious, your parent may have moderate to advanced dementia and need extensive care. Recognizing the warning signs early can help you encourage your parent to get a proper diagnosis, begin planning for the future, and implement lifestyle changes that keep your parent safe while making their life easier.
There’s no substitute for the bond between a grandparent and grandchild. Many people spend their whole lives looking forward to spoiling grandchildren, so dementia in someone who has grandchildren can feel especially cruel.
Thoughts of a memory care facility may immediately raise concerns that you’ll be leaving your loved one in a nursing home with a bunch of strangers. Yet, today’s memory care communities are loving, nurturing places that maximize independence, preserve your loved one’s memory as long as possible and alleviate the caregiver of the burden that prevents you from having a better relationship with your loved one.
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that more than 5.7 million Americans are living with the disease each year. While this number is staggering—and it is only expected to increase over time—the statistic does not include seniors living with other types of dementia.
Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia, but it’s not the only type. Getting an accurate diagnosis can help you support your loved one, anticipate likely changes and ensure you choose the right level of care. The right diagnosis begins with a trip to a doctor you trust and usually requires a referral to a neurologist. Here’s how to understand the distinction between Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
Transitions can be difficult, particularly for seniors with dementia. If your loved one’s dementia is progressing, it may be time to shift from assisted living to memory care. The decision can be a difficult one, since there is no single guideline for deciding when it’s time to make a change. Financial considerations can weigh heavily on your mind, too, since the higher level of care at a memory care community typically comes with a higher price tag.