Talking about Alzheimer’s disease purely in terms of facts and statistics may seem a bit impersonal on one level. After all, this terrible condition affects families, and boiling it down to a series of numbers diminishes, at least on the surface, the struggles these families endure daily.
All people benefit from routine—it helps us feel in control of our lives and our surroundings, as well as provides a sense of comfort—and loved ones suffering from dementia are no different. In fact, routine is incredibly important for them. For memory care patients, any deviation from a daily regimen routine can cause anxiety as changes disrupt the things loved ones know and rely upon amid the uncertainty they feel.
The adjustment period for a loved one transitioning into a dementia care community can span days, weeks, or months. Unfortunately, there’s no way to predict how long the adjustment period will last or what challenges and environmental triggers will have to be overcome during the process.
As few as 44 percent of Americans have a will, and just 68 percent of seniors older than 65 one have a will, a Gallup poll found. Whether it’s because of a lack of time, lack of money, or the belief that things will sort themselves out, the vast majority of older Americans have not taken all legal planning steps that are needed. In fact, many haven’t even completed the first step: gather important legal documents.
Organizing estate planning, medical, and financial legal documents is an easy way to ensure that you or your loved one’s wishes are honored, and that surviving family members won’t be left with hefty legal bills and disputes to untangle.
Caring for aging loved ones isn’t easy. Although you may or may not be physically caring for your loved one, coordinating doctor visits and medication pick-ups, as well as being an active part of choosing a long-term care community are important tasks that contribute to the health of your loved one. If you are searching for a long-term care community, you may feel extra pressure to find the perfect fit. Most importantly, you want to find a senior living option that provides your loved one with a safe and comfortable community.
As you research the available options, make sure to look beyond the typical checklists you may find online. While staff ratio and nurse qualifications are certainly important, also consider these two key criteria to identify the ideal community for your loved one.
Moving to a senior community isn’t always the first choice for older adults. After all, living at home for as long as possible is often considered healthy aging by most Americans. Many seniors and their family members try to stay at home for as long as they can, even while fighting with chronic medical conditions, loneliness, and memory loss. This desire to stay at home can often lead to unhealthy and isolated living conditions, which isn’t healthy aging at all.
Starting the “moving” conversation with an aging parent is never easy. The idea of leaving a home after spending decades there brings a great deal of uncertainty and unpredictable reactions.
First and foremost, don’t go it alone. Family members, elder care planning experts, and resources such as the Talking to Your Parent Guide will provide support and tools to help start the “moving” conversation.
Just 40 to 50 percent of dementia cases have been diagnosed. That means most people suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia aren’t receiving the care they need.
Signs of dementia may be overlooked—but more often they’re ignored by seniors and loved ones who aren’t prepared to confront the difficult reality of a life-limiting disease. And the real danger of ignoring the warning signs of dementia can be medical complications, accidents and injuries, and financial crises that jeopardize our loved ones’ future stability.
Ninety percent of people who responded to a nationwide survey said they know they should talk to a family member about end-of-life care and becoming power of attorney—but only 30 percent of them actually had.
The top reasons for delaying conversations about becoming power of attorney were that it was too early because the loved one wasn’t sick yet, the subject makes them uncomfortable, they don’t want to upset their loved one, and the time just never seems right.