If you are caring for a loved one with a diagnosis of dementia, you probably are regularly asking yourself, what do I do now?  Care Mountain has been providing in home care for dementia in Dallas, TX and in home care for dementia in Plano, TX areas since 2014, and this experience is the main bases for much of the information provided.

Factors determining the best time to get in home senior care for dementia will vary depending upon if the caregiver is living in the home (i.e.; spouse), or not.  If the caregiver is a spouse, then factors will be more heavily weighted on the spouses coping skills.  If there is no caregiver living in the home, then factors will be more heavily weighted on type of dementia diagnosed, stage of the dementia, recent history of events related to the dementia and warning signs indicative of future related events.

If you are providing in home care for a spouse with dementia,then the best time to get help caring for dementia at home is when you start experiencing the earlier symptoms of caregiver fatigue or burnout. Since most types of dementia are progressive, the most successful caregivers are those that make proactive adjustments in their care giving efforts.  Otherwise, waiting until a bad occurrence happens to dictate change, usually adds a very high level of avoidable stress to an already challenging situation. For a spouse to be a proactive care giver is a big challenge, since it means making changes when everything seems to be going OK – nothing bad has happened.  Many spouses I met caring for their loved one with dementia faced a big challenge accepting the reality of their loved ones dementia, even when the symptoms are significant. So, accepting what has not yet happened is an even bigger challenge for them.

One of the most practical lists of caregiver burnout warning signs I have found is on the AARP website. It lists the following along with some great ideas for coping:  1. You feel furious one minute, sad and helpless the next. 2. You catch every bug that comes your way.  3. You’re snapping at everyone.  4.  You know you should exercise, but you just don’t have the time.  5. You can’t remember the last time you met a friend for dinner, or a movie.  6. You’re the go-to caregiver.  Always.

For those diagnosed with dementia that are living alone, a proactive approach to caring for this progressive disease is still of utmost importance to achieve the most favorable outcomes.  In my 33+ years providing home health care for dementia, I can count on one hand the amount of times the person with dementia initiated the call for in home care. Because you can not expect the person with dementia to reach out for help, recognizing the warning signs of a need for in home dementia care are critical.

Some of the more common early warning signs of dementia and the need to consider possible in home care are: 1. Memory problems, particularly with short term memory.  2. Increasing confusion.  3. Reduced concentration. 4. Difficulty finding the right words and communicating.  5. Personality or behavioral changes.  6. Apathy, withdrawal or depression.  7. Loss of ability to do every day tasks.

Once you see the warnings signs of dementia, then a diagnosis of the type and stage it’s in will be very helpful. The types of dementia can take different forms of progression, so this will help you know what to expect in the near future to take the best proactive actions.  Considering this information with any recent history of events related to the dementia, will put you a good position to decide if or how much in home care may be needed.  Deciding whether a person with dementia will benefit from home care is usually the easy part, getting that person to accept the care is often the hardest part.

One good example to share is when Janice called Care Mountain for in home care for dementia in Arlington, TX for her husband who was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia.  Janice had been her husband’s sole caregiver for the past three years.  When I met Janice, she said the main reason she called me for an assessment was to satisfy her adult children who were constantly asking her to seek help.  She felt though, that she was “managing it all”.  As we talked, she shared she has been having back pains lately, but had not found the time to see the doctor.  She also shared how active she used to be, but couldn’t remember the last time she participated in a recreational activity outside the home.  Janice looked tired, but kept on insisting that she was getting along OK.

As a compromise with her adult children, she agreed to have a Care Mountain caregiver experienced with Lewy Body dementia care come in and watch her husband for four hours a week, so she could get out for some errands. For those adult children reading this in similar situations, compromising with your parent is usually what that first tiny step entails.  We ended up caring for Janice’s husband up to his passing about five years later.

Some notable local places where you can get a diagnosis of the type and stage of dementia are Texas Neurology Consultants, Plano Neurology, North Dallas Neurology,  Lone Star Neurology, Texas Institute for Neurological Disorders, North Texas Neurology, Baylor Scott & White Neurology, Neurology Specialists of North Texas, Neurology Associates of Arlington, Tarrant Neurology Consultants, Neurosurgical Associates of Texas, Texas Health Physician’s Group and UT Southwestern geriatric care.

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The Best Time To Get In Home Senior Care For Dementia: Plano, TX & Dallas, TX Area Caregiver Guide

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