September is World Alzheimer’s Month. Join us as we educate, raise awareness, and put an end to the stigma and misinformation surrounding dementia and Alzheimer’s.
After you or your loved one has received a diagnosis of early-stage dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you may feel helpless and hopeless. However, an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is not a death sentence. Patients can live long and healthy lives years after they are diagnosed. It is valuable, however, to understand what exactly you are dealing with, and to know the most beneficial and practical ways to handle the symptoms.
- Educate yourself on Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The first and most important thing you can do after a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is learn about the symptoms, effects and the best methods of treatment and care. Ask your loved one’s physician any questions about their specific case, and ask them for their recommendations for a care plan.
- Develop a predictable daily routine. Have a set schedule for your loved one to bathe, get dressed, eat meals, and do other daily activities. This will avoid confusion and frustration, and they will always know what to expect. Allow for extra time for each activity so they do not feel rushed.
- Be flexible, patient, and willing to let things go. AD can cause unpredictable mood swings and behaviors and it is best not to take these personally. Keep in mind that your loved one may not be able to take part in the activity you planned, or may get upset with you for no reason. Try not to let any frustration show.
- Speak gently, positively, and directly. Always address your loved one by name, establish eye contact, and ask them simple questions in a calming, positive manner. Speaking to them directly and including them in the conversation allows them to exercise their communication skills.
- Allow independence when possible. While it may seem easier to just do everything yourself, it’s important to let your loved one do as many things as they can by themselves.
- Plan fun activities. Plan outings and activities that you know your loved one would enjoy. Go to the zoo, watch live music, shop at a local thrift store. However, understand that some plans might not work out and always be on the lookout for signs of confusion and frustration.
- Take care of yourself. Taking care of someone with AD is a full-time job and can quickly lead to caregiver burnout. Know the signs of exhaustion, stress, and frustration, and take time for yourself to relax and have fun.
It’s certainly overwhelming and frightening for a parent or loved one to be diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, and taking care of them can be a difficult and emotionally taxing job. However, with the right attitude, knowledge, and preparations, it can be a fulfilling experience for both of you. If you think your loved one would benefit from in-home supportive care, call Palladium Hospice and Supportive Care at 888.502.4646, we may be able to help.
Supportive care (also known as palliative care) is a type of specialized medical care for people suffering from a serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress that come with these illnesses and ultimately improving the quality of life—for both the patient and the family. Some studies have shown that supportive care may even extend life.
Supportive care provides the patient with a comprehensive team of specially-trained doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a current physician to provide an extra layer of support and comfort. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and it can be provided along with curative treatment, differing it from Hospice care. Still confused? Let’s take a look at some commonly asked questions regarding supportive care.
- How Do I Know If Supportive Care is Right for Me?
Supportive care may be right for you if you suffer from pain, stress or other symptoms due to a serious illness. Serious illnesses may include cancer, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, HIV/AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and more. Supportive care can be provided at any stage of illness and along with treatment meant to cure you. Ask your current physician if supportive care is right for you.
- What Can I Expect from Supportive Care?
You can expect relief from symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping. Supportive care helps you carry on with your daily life while improving your ability to go through medical treatments. It can also help you better understand your condition and the best choices for medical care. In short, you can expect the best possible quality of life.
- Who Provides Supportive Care?
Supportive care is provided by a highly-trained team of experts including supportive care doctors, nurses and other specialists.
- Where do I Receive Supportive Care?
Supportive care can be provided in a variety of settings including the hospital, outpatient clinic, at home, in a skilled nursing facility, or wherever you call home.
- How Does Supportive Care Work With My Own Doctor?
The supportive care team works in partnership with your own doctor to provide an extra layer of support for you and your family. The team provides expert symptom management, extra time for communication about your goals and treatment options, and help navigating the health system.
- Does My Insurance Pay for Supportive Care?
Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover supportive care. If costs concern you, a social worker from the supportive care team can help you.
- How do I Get Supportive Care?
You have to ask for it! Just tell your doctors and nurses that you would like to learn about what supportive care would mean for you and to meet your local supportive care team.
Supportive care supports and enhances all aspects of both your and your families health and well-being, and helps you to live the highest quality of life as possible during your illness.
Remember, supportive care is not hospice. It is care that is available at any stage of the illness process. To learn more about supportive care, go to palladiumcare.com or call (888) 502-4646.