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My Loved One was Diagnosed with Dementia: Now What?

This is the day you thought would never happen.  Your roles in life are reversing.  You are tasked with making decisions for yourself and your elderly parents.  

What will be best for them without altering your life too drastically?

How do you keep up the pace of change and ultimately please everyone around you? 

You are not alone in life. You have a family and a career to think about.  You want to balance everything to keep everyone happy and life as normal as possible.  

Your parent needs care, more than just an occasional visit or a weekly trip to bring supplies.  The care may include making sure they eat, that they take their medication, that they are safe in their home, and their financial situation stays in order.

You have siblings and you disagree about the next steps. How do you cope?  How do you make a plan and keep the peace within the family?

Start with a visit to the doctor.  Have an appointment to discuss the faltering health of your beloved parent.   You can also call a hospital and ask what resources they recommend for the elderly.  A call to insurance may also help provide valuable information.  Between the doctor and the medical coverage information, you may be able to determine the types of help and living style your parents' current status requires.  Keep asking and advocating until you have the best situation for all concerned.  

It may be as simple as an aide visiting once or twice a day to help with showering, dressing, meals and meds or, a more drastic change may be needed.  The best word to learn to help an elder parent is the same as if your child were being cared for and that is SAFETY. If safety is not at the level necessary, keep pushing until you get the help you need.  Keep on insisting on the area of SAFETY.

It is a journey and there are a lot of twists, turns, and potholes on the way. It will take time to find what is available for your parents and then there will be times when you think you have it figured out and then needs change, sometimes abruptly. 

Pause, take a deep breath, and remind yourself that you are doing the best you can. 

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