On October 14th and 21st, Hebrew SeniorLife gathered together geriatric thought-leaders, researchers and physicians to hold an importance discussion about the steps one should take to help aging parents as they make decisions regarding health and well-being. Those discussions culminated in an ebook, “You and Your Aging Parents”, which Hebrew SeniorLife is offering as a free downloadable pdf. The discussion also inspired our “You and Your Aging Parents” blog series, a series which includes this blog post and covers the various issues and concerns you may encounter as you and your parent/s continue on the journey of aging.
How do I work through my parent’s decreasing independence as a result of dementia?
1. Do not do this alone. Seek assistance from family members, friends and religious organizations. If the burden of care is too difficult, there are services and agencies that can offer professional assistance. You can find out more through your loved one’s primary care clinician, geriatric case manager or social worker. The book “The 36 Hour Day” is also a very helpful guide to caring for a loved one with memory loss.
2. Watch out for safety issues such as managing medication, cooking and driving. Having a primary clinician who can work with you and your loved one is very helpful.
3. Take care of yourself. There is significant caregiver burnout when taking care of a loved one with dementia so it is especially important that you are mindful of your own mental and physical health.
4. Know the stages of the condition so you can anticipate what to expect and make plans for the future.
5. It is helpful, if possible, to have a conversation with your loved one early on before the symptoms progress or even before they are visible so you know their wishes.
To download your copy of our “You and Your Aging Parent” ebook, visit our website, www.agingredefined.org