If you are providing care for a senior family member, you are fully aware of the range of emotions involved. On one hand, it’s a huge honor and incredibly worthwhile. Having said that, it is often taxing, exhausting, and stressful. Add to that the other challenges concerning cognitive decline, and it is easy to understand how family caregivers can quickly become bogged down and feel overwhelmed.
Cognitive function can decline gradually, or it could happen seemingly overnight, depending on the cause (Alzheimer’s or any other type of dementia, traumatic brain injury, or Parkinson’s, to name a few). Whatever the cause of someone’s cognitive decline, there are actions caregivers can take to provide the very best degree of care.
- Note the person’s baseline behaviors as well as the particular changes you’re witnessing.
- Make arrangements for a comprehensive exam with the primary care physician for an accurate diagnosis and to rule out other health problems.
- Ask the doctor for educational resources regarding the diagnosis in order to be fully informed as to what to expect, and to share with other loved ones.
- Evaluate the senior’s needs – both today and on a regular basis, as needs may change with time. Consider physical as well as emotional concerns, including their capacity to:
- Tend to personal cleanliness tasks
- Take care of housekeeping, meals, laundry, as well as other chores around the home
- Preserve social ties and stay involved in enjoyable activities
- Get to medical visits, take care of trips to market, and other needs not in the home
- Stay safe: from wandering, falls, medication mismanagement, and more
- Establish a strategy to fulfill any needs identified.
- Evaluate finances and legal paperwork to ensure someone has been specified as power of attorney to guarantee the person’s wishes will be implemented and decisions made on their behalf when required.
- Find help – through an online or in-person group for family care providers, and for the specific diagnosis if possible.
What is important to keep in mind is you’re not alone! Anthem Home Care, a dedicated provider of home care assistance in Portland, TX and the surrounding communities, is always at your disposal to work alongside you, offering opportunities for you to take a break from your caregiving duties for your own personal needs and interests. Caring for yourself is essential to being able to effectively care for another person. Plan ongoing, regular time away for self-care such as:
- Physical activity – at least 20 minutes of exercise 3 times per week, or per doctor’s instructions.
- Healthy eating – skip fast food and quick, sugary, or salty snack foods and opt for healthy choices
- Rest – something which is extremely difficult when taking care of someone with cognitive decline, but vitally important
- Medical and dental examinations – including taking care of your mental health to protect yourself from caregiver burnout and depression
- Comforting, enjoyable activities – reading, a lunch date with a good friend, and whatever interests and hobbies brighten up your day
Want to learn more about how home care helps with cognitive decline? Call Anthem Home Care at 361-643-2323 for additional details on our respite care services, provided by fully trained and experienced senior care professionals. Request a complimentary consultation and let us help you ensure the best possible care for someone you love with cognitive decline – and, for yourself.