A dementia diagnosis is scary, and diagnosed seniors often take it to mean that life as they know it is over. But it doesn’t have to be. Dementia is a progressive condition, and the pace at which it progresses varies widely from person to person.
If you have been diagnosed, here are eight things you can do to preserve your current lifestyle and hopefully slow the progression of the disease.
1. See Your Doctor
Keeping up with regular checkups and following a doctor’s advice about eating right, exercising regularly, and getting proper sleep may help you avoid other health problems and possibly delay the appearance of dementia-related symptoms.
2. Stay Connected to Others
Dementia patients often hide their condition, withdrawing from friends and family. Staying socially active with your peers helps both your physical and mental health.
Studies, including this one by the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, have shown that social isolation is associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline.
Family members will want to help you, but they can’t if they don’t know what’s going on.
3. Find Ways to Make Your Everyday Tasks Easier
As the dementia progresses, you will find it harder to remember things, so put systems in place now that will help you later.
- Write out lists of what you need to do. Jot down reminders as soon as you think of something you need.
- Set up automatic bill pay through your bank so you don’t forget to pay them.
- Use an alarm to help you remember to take your medication.
4. Make Your Living Space Safer
- Remove unnecessary furniture so it’s easier to get around.
- Remove or secure throw rugs to prevent slipping on them.
- Install grab bars in the bathroom for help getting onto the toilet and into the shower.
- Install an automatic shutoff on the stove.
5. Carry Identification
You may also want to wear a medic alert bracelet so emergency personnel will know about any health conditions you have or medicines you take.
6. Stop Driving
As your cognitive abilities decline, there will come a time when it’s no longer safe for you to drive. It is best to hand over the keys before you get to that point. It’s not an easy decision to make, but you’ll feel better about it if you are the one who makes it.
7. See a Lawyer
Now is the time to get your legal and financial matters in order. This may include updating your will and your living will, as well as designating a financial power of attorney and a healthcare power of attorney.
8. Plan for the Future
There may come a time when your dementia has progressed to the point that you can no longer live on your own. When that time comes, you’ll want to move to a senior living community, like Arbor Terrace at Cascade in southwest Atlanta, that offers dementia care.
Dementia care is a special neighborhood within the community designed specifically for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The neighborhood is locked to prevent wandering. Staff members are specially trained in dementia care, and activities and meals are tailored for residents with memory issues in order to help them live their best lives.
If you’d like to find out more about dementia care at Arbor Terrace at Cascade, call us at 404-691-0304 to schedule a tour.