What Are the Next Steps After a Diagnosis of Dementia?

May 29, 2024 | Caregivers

A Dementia Diagnosis in the Family Is Life-Changing

If a parent, spouse or other family member was recently diagnosed with dementia, you and your family are probably grappling with a lot of intense feelings. The emotional impact of a dementia diagnosis, paired with the vast amount of information out there might leave you feeling overwhelmed, confused and wondering “What’s the next step?”

The Next Steps After a Dementia Diagnosis

If a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, the first steps to figuring it all out are:

1. Learn

Learn as much as you can about dementia, its symptoms, co-occurring conditions and what to expect as the years pass.

2. Meet the Medical Team

Make sure you know who’s taking care of your loved one throughout this transition. Understand that while there is no cure for dementia, certain treatments that can slow down cognitive decline or help to manage symptoms may be prescribed.

3. Learn About Dementia Behaviors

In order to understand your loved one and ensure that they receive good care, you’ll want to learn more about certain behaviors that may occur with dementia. This is especially true if you’re planning on taking care of the individual yourself.

4. Implement Safety Barriers

Whether you decide that your loved one will live alone or with someone else for now, make sure their home is safe for them. In order to do this, you’ll need to know how someone with dementia thinks. For example, individuals with dementia often mix up safe-to-eat food with unsafe, inedible items like household cleaners. This might be because the containers have similar coloring or designs. Making sure the home of someone with dementia is entirely safety proofed is crucial. Even if you know your loved one’s dementia isn’t very advanced – it will be one day.

5. Develop a Support and Self-Care System

Caregiving often comes with lots of stress and frustration! Having a strong support system is critical when you decide to take on the role of caregiver. Check-in with your support team frequently, design and stick to a daily caregiving routine, and be sure to take time for yourself regularly to avoid burnout.

6. Organize Financial and Legal Matters

Your loved one may still have plenty of years left, but it’s important to remember that dementia can make it so someone is no longer legally able to handle their own affairs. Sometimes when this happens, it takes a family completely by surprise. The individual may have been deteriorating so gradually that no one saw it coming. When this happens and no steps have been taken to secure the individual’s assets, their finances, property and even their medical decisions are at risk. It’s best to figure all these important matters out and assign a loved one with power of attorney as soon as possible.

You Are Not Alone in This

We’re dedicated to providing care that goes above what’s expected. Sundara is more than just a facility – we’re a home. And the people we care for and their loved ones are more than just residents – they’re family.

Curious about becoming a part of the Sundara family?

Schedule your visit today.