If you or your loved one has recently been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, you may be wondering how to cope with this new reality. No two diagnoses are the same, so it’s likely that your experience may differ from that of someone else.
The one thing to know is that there is help. Help from family, friends, the medical community, and support programs. We hope this article is one place to start if you’re looking for helpful ways to cope with a dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Accept the Diagnosis and Related Emotions
With a dementia diagnosis, it is important to accept all the emotions related to it. The person living with dementia may experience shock, denial, anger, frustration, hopelessness, or even despair. Close family members and friends may also share similar feelings. Deal with the emotions as they come before making any decisions. There is help and support, but first the mind and the heart require attention.
Learn More About Dementia/Alzheimer’s and How It Affects the Person’s Life
With a diagnosis of any form of dementia, it is important to learn about the particular disease or condition. Like many forms of Memory Loss, there can be various stages and levels that can affect the person differently. Talk to physicians, nurses, specialists, and various supportive organizations to learn more about Memory Loss and how to cope.
Reach Out to Loved Ones for Support
Memory Loss should not be a solo journey. Reach out to family, friends, and local support groups. A dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis can create a cloud of loneliness, fear, shame, or anxiety, to the person receiving the diagnosis and their loved ones. It is now more important than ever that those involved need the love, support, and strength of others to lean on whenever possible.
Talk to Other People Who Were Diagnosed
Knowledge is power and when it comes to Memory Loss, talking to others who share in a similar experience can be very helpful. Contact a local dementia or local Alzheimer’s organization to seek support groups of those diagnosed with a form of Memory Loss.
Engage with People
For many people with Memory Loss, forgetting names and faces and word finding difficulty is a terrifying, frustrating and embarrassing experience. Staying socially active in local groups, clubs, and events can help maintain or improve cognitive function. If a large group gathering is overwhelming, try participating in more intimate gatherings with close family and friends.
Keep the Mind Stimulated
We may not be able to regain the Memory Loss, but there are ways to continue to strengthen the brain cells in hopes of slowing down the progression of the disease. Encourage engagement in simple household tasks, games, and hobbies such as music, art, and mind and body exercises. Learning new hobbies can also help stimulate memory cells.
Eat and Sleep Well
While maintaining a nutritious diet is important for good physical health, it can also help to protect the brain. Look for mind healthy foods rich in antioxidants. Foods high in saturated fats, cholesterol, and sugars can increase inflammation and hinder cell communication. In addition to good eating, our bodies and our brain require quality sleep patterns to better protect our health.
Manage Stress and Exercise
For those living with Memory Loss, the ability to “voice” their concerns waiver as can the ability to directly deal with stressors. Teaching relaxation and meditation techniques to the person living with Memory Loss is one avenue. Maintaining a regular exercise routine is another as exercise stimulates the brain and increases blood flow.
Plan for Future Help
Some people living with Memory Loss can maintain independent living in the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s, while others require specialized care and support with a diagnosis. Plan for the future by understanding the physical, mental, and emotional needs of a person living with Memory Loss as the disease progresses. Prepare support for financial, healthcare, and legal needs before difficult decisions are to be made to ensure their wishes are honoured.
Look Into Home Care Services
Living with Memory Loss can be lonesome for the individual affected and their Care Partner(s). There are local, provincial, and federal programs, organizations, and businesses that focus on the needs and support of those involved with any form of Memory Loss. Home care services are available to assist in all stages of Memory Loss.
Join Day Programs
There are specialized Day Programs at selected Memory Loss Environments designed to slow down the progression of the Memory Loss through social activities, therapies and programs. With music, art, and pet therapies certified Team Members work with those living with Memory Loss to stimulate the brain and assist in slowing Memory Loss.
Manage Food If You Stay Alone
Skipping meals can be a common issue with people living with Memory Loss. For some, it may relate to forgetting to eat while others may not have the proper nutritious foods on-hand or may not be able to prepare a meal. There is also risk of eating expired food, or underprepared foods that should be considered for safety. There are meal delivery programs to help ensure one receives proper nutrition. If safety is a concerns when it comes to meal management, home care, or assisted environments may be needed.
Check-In to a Memory Care Environment
One of the greatest support services for people living with Memory Loss and their Care Partners is Respite Hotels and retirement homes specializing in Memory Care. Dealing with Memory Loss can be overwhelming, frustrating, and confusing. A Memory Care Environment provides a safe space to talk, enjoy social activities, and receive physical, mental, and emotional support.
Memory & Company’s Respite Hotel Service
The Respite Hotel services at Memory & Company feature specialized care for those living with Memory Loss and their Care Partners. Our Team Members are highly trained and experienced in the study and care of Memory Loss due to dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, and brain injuries.
Our focus is on the care of the person living with Memory Loss and their Care Partner by providing a safe environment with customized programs and activities. Both locations at Oakville and Markham provide furnished suites with 24/7 emergency, security, and medical care.
Call us today to book a tour of our Respite Hotels for short-term and long-term Memory Care accommodations.
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