Your senior loved one has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or one other dementia-related disease. So, what happens next? A transition period typically follows a dementia diagnosis where patients and their families will need to adjust and prepare for the progression of this devastating disease. There are a number of physical, financial, and mental preparations that families will need to be ready for.
Physical Signs of Dementia
Stage One: Normal Brain Health – No impairment. Doctors start the scale at this level in order to have a benchmark of comparison.
Stage Two: Very Mild – Symptoms include having a hard time remembering names. Unless it progresses to something more serious, it is not a cause for concern and may not indicate the onset of a serious cognitive illness.
Stage Three: Mild – Mild cognitive impairment (MCI), characterized by an escalation of previously minor issues with memory and thinking that starts to affect your loved one’s daily life to a moderate extent.
Stage Four: Moderate – In addition to memory issues, a loved one may begin to experience moodiness or begin to seem anti-social. They will have trouble with everyday tasks and often be unresponsive. They will often deny that anything is wrong.
Stage Five: Moderately Severe – Your loved one will need help with basic daily tasks. At this point, they will suffer from regular confusion, forgetfulness, and have difficulty with focus and problem-solving. A memory care facility should be considered at this stage.
Stage Six: Severe – A caregiver will be needed for everyday tasks. The same memory and mental problems will still be there, however, your loved one will also experience personality changes, delusions, and may have trouble recognizing family and friends.
Stage Seven: Very Severe – Loved ones will often lose the ability to communicate. They will also need help with all types of day-to-day care and could lose the ability to walk.
Financial and Legal Planning
Financial and legal planning are two incredibly important topics to discuss with your loved one. The sooner financial and legal matters are dealt with, the more a loved one diagnosed with dementia will be able to participate. Financial matters include monthly bills, the status of various bank accounts, loans, and credit cards, insurance policies, etc. Legal matters include updating wills or trusts, designating power of attorney, and/or creating a living will or trust.
What better way to bond than to sit down and listen to your senior loved one’s stories? Make sure to record these stories and take plenty of photos and videos for precious keepsakes in the future. The most important thing to remember is to cherish the time with your loved one here and now.
As dementia progresses and you find yourself searching for a memory care or assisted living facility, consider Vista Shores Assisted Living & Memory Care, located on the banks of Bayou St. John in New Orleans. Our expertly trained staff ensures that all details are attended to so that every resident can relax knowing someone is always close by to help. Contact us today to schedule a tour.