A dementia diagnosis is life-changing. There will be many changes to navigate on the road ahead, but it is also likely that your family is already seeing the effects. Taking things slow and planning for the future is the only way to keep moving forward. Here are four practical things that can be done so that everyone feels more in control of what’s to come. 

Think Ahead: Knowing What Comes Next

Dementia is typically diagnosed when the condition has already taken hold, as the symptoms are more obvious and the preliminary stage can be confused for general aging habits.  Your parent may already be struggling with repeating themselves, forgetting general details, and becoming disorientated during the day or night. Knowing what comes next will help everyone feel a bit more empowered to deal with the disease as it progresses. For instance, research some common symptoms, with a particular focus on the last stage of dementia so you understand what to expect.

Research Memory Care Facilities ASAP

The reality of dementia is such that, at some point in the journey (usually the early-late stage), extra input and support will be needed. Caring responsibilities become a full-time requirement, and it is impractical and emotionally exhausting for children or grandchildren to put their lives on hold to become a 24/7 carer. This is nothing to feel guilty about, but it does mean researching a senior living facility that can provide the correct level of care is essential. There are specialist, experienced establishments that focus on memory care in Clayton for instance, and this is where your journey should begin. 

Create a Firm Routine

Whether your parent comes to live with you or they stay in their own home, establishing a routine is non-negotiable. A senior with dementia will need reliability and stability above all else, and this means creating a predictable framework for the day ahead. Help as much as you can with what they like to do, and lend a hand for practical things like housework, laundry, or meal prep so they are set up with the best possible chance for an easier day. 

Facilitate Outside Time

It is common for dementia sufferers to lean towards social isolation and staying indoors owing to a lack of confidence or even a fear of what might happen if they become disorientated. However, this is the worst possible way forward because it will only cut them off from all of the things that help like fresh air and socialization. Your main role, therefore, will be to facilitate as much outdoor time as possible which could be a walk in a familiar setting each day, or dropping them off for a coffee at their friend’s house and picking them up when they’re finished. This will really benefit their self-esteem and cognitive capacity. 

Dementia is a difficult condition to navigate, especially when it is impacting a parent or close loved one. Empower yourself and them with facts, and create a routine for as long as possible that is underpinned by fun, love, and helpful research.