My Parent Was Diagnosed with Dementia — Now What?

Having a parent diagnosed with dementia is overwhelming. You may find your mind racing as you try to figure out how to provide the best possible care and make sure all their affairs are in order. Read on for some tips on where to start.

  • Consider Living Arrangements

If your loved one lives on their own, consider what you'll do if they are no longer independent enough to do so. As you think through options, take your loved one's overall health and finances into consideration.

Decide whether in-home care, respite care, a part or full-time living facility or some combination of the above is the best fit. Then, <a href=" target="_blank">look into how to prepare your home, find a respite care provider in your area, or make a list of facilities to research. Proactive planning will make the process a lot less stressful when it comes time to make a change.

  • Update Wills and Legal Paperwork

If your parent hasn't decided on a medical power of attorney, encourage them to do so. If they have a will, make sure it's updated - and if they don't, encourage them to write one. Also, talk about what kind of life-saving measures they would want to be taken should they fall ill.

<a href="" target=_blank">While these are tough conversations to have, it's important to have them sooner rather than later. Knowing your loved one made these important decisions for themselves will save you a lot of future stress and worry.

  • Consider Finances

Talk to your loved one about their financial situation and resources. If necessary, take steps to protect their assets and explore setting up a trust. Sites like LegalZoom can be a great, affordable resource. Also, consider working with your parent to set up access to their accounts, so you can pay their bills if needed.

  • Stay Positive

Encouraging your loved one to stay optimistic and creating a positive environment can have a dramatic effect on their overall well-being. Focus on doing everything you can to provide a stable, predictable environment for them.

If they move in with you, focus on simple things, like establishing a routine, creating a calming living environment, and making sure your home is easy to get around.

If they move into a care facility, make sure they take some of their favorite belongings with them, so they have comforts of home. Also, establish a regular visit schedule to give your loved one something to look forward to.

Be strong and hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. This attitude will carry you far in the face of an intimidating diagnosis.

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