Family caregivers of dementia patients must be more prepared for immediate changes in temperament. They need more support and respite care, and they need a better idea of what to expect in the days and months ahead.
Forbes’s recent article entitled “When Your Loved One Has Dementia: 3 Questions For Family Caregivers” provided three important questions to ask if your aging parent or family member has been diagnosed with a form of dementia.
What training must I have? When a parent, friend, or other loved one in your care is has dementia, you should look to local healthcare resources for education and training.
The temperament of people suffering from a form of dementia can change swiftly. It can rapidly turn hurtful or even violent. However, there are things a caregiver can do to interact with them to help keep them calm. Ask their healthcare provider for suggestions or referrals.
As a caregiver, do I have the legal standing to take care of this person? You should determine if your loved one has a will, living will and financial and healthcare powers of attorney in place, as well as other estate planning documents like a Declaration of Guardian and Living Trust, just to name a few. These are documents that must be drafted and signed, before their dementia progresses to the point where it totally distorts your loved one’s thought process. If your loved one still has the mental capacity to understand what these documents are about, you need to immediately see an experienced estate planning or elder law attorney to make sure everything is properly in place. If you wait too long, the only option might be hiring an attorney to seek legal guardianship, which is a very expensive process.
The documents provide instructions as how to care for them, according to their original wishes and avoid stress in the family, if disagreements arise. Contact an estate planning or elder law attorney as soon as possible to create these documents.
How do I get help when I need it? Caring for an aging loved one can be a very tiring task. Tending to the needs of an aging loved one with a form of dementia is an even greater challenge. Begin planning now for self-care.
You can’t take care of a loved one with dementia, if your physical and mental health is wiped out and you are exhausted. Look at respite care options to give yourself the rest you’re going to need.
Getting these measures ready now can ensure that you are prepared for the tough future.
Reference: Forbes (March 23, 2020) “When Your Loved One Has Dementia: 3 Questions For Family Caregivers”