March 23, 2013

Prepare for Alzheimer's Care

Alzheimer’s disease is challenging for everyone; for the person diagnosed and for the loved ones who will be caring for them. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is difficult, but with knowledge and support you can better navigate and determine eventual Alzheimer’s care options.

Early stage Alzheimer’s care preparations

It is better to do some Alzheimer’s care preparations sooner rather than later. At first, it may be hard to consider these questions because it means you have to think about your loved one suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. But being prepared early provides a smoother transition for everyone. Include the person with Alzheimer’s in the decision-making process as much as possible or at least try to act on what their wishes would be.

Questions to consider in preparing for Alzheimer’s and dementia care:

Who will make healthcare and/or financial decisions when the person is no longer able to do so? If your loved one is in the early stages, getting their wishes down on paper means they’ll be preserved and respected by all members of the family. Consider meeting with an elder law attorney to best understand your options. You’ll want to consider power of attorney, both for finances and for healthcare. If the person has already lost capacity, you may need to apply for guardianship/conservatorship.

How will care needs be met? Sometimes other family members assume that a spouse or nearest family member can take on caregiving, but that is not always the case. Alzheimer's caregiving becomes more challenging over time. The person will eventually need round-the-clock care. Communication is essential to make sure that the needs of the Alzheimer’s patient are met, and that the caregiver has the support to meet those needs.

Where will the person live? Is their home appropriate, or is it difficult to access or make safe for later? If the person is currently living alone or far from any family or other support, it may be necessary to relocate or consider a facility with more support.

For more information on Alzheimer’s care facilities, contact Spring Arbor.