Tips for Dementia Caregivers
More than 16 million Americans care for a person with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. These caretakers can quickly become overwhelmed with the tasks of caring for an individual with deteriorating cognitive and physical health. By remembering the following suggestions, the caretakers of individuals with dementia can help better plan for the future.
Make Decisions in Advance
Knowing the desires of a loved one living with dementia is an important part of planning for their future. Setting appropriate estate planning tools in place such as financial trusts or medical powers of attorney can allow seniors to make decisions regarding their healthcare or finances in advance. Family members can honor their wishes in these areas should the senior later become unable to make decisions on their own behalf.
Create a Personal Support Plan
Caregivers should be proactive in taking care of their own needs while caring for a dementia patient. Scheduling regular respite care, educating oneself on the skills need to care for someone with dementia, incorporating regular exercise, seeing a therapist, keeping a daily journal, or joining a support group can be important parts of creating a personal support plan during this time.
Expect Communication Challenges
Communication challenges for many individuals with deteriorating cognitive function can be especially frustrating. Seniors with dementia may find it difficult to recall words, use words inappropriately, or be easily confused during a conversation. To help with these challenges, caregivers can keep conversations simple, short, and straightforward. Using the individual’s name, avoiding open-ended questions, reminding the person who you are, and speaking slowly will make it easier for the individual with dementia to communicate.
Day to day routines can be particularly helpful for many of these seniors who benefit from the consistency of doing daily activities on a schedule. By knowing what to expect at certain times, seniors with dementia can find comfort in the familiarity and structure. Common routines can take place around activities like mealtimes, bathing, bedtime, visiting time, and dressing. Outside activities such as walking or watering flowers can be done on a regular basis and can include the participation of loved ones and other visitors.
Recognize Signs of Caregiver Stress
Taking care of an individual with dementia can result in an overwhelming amount of stress. When a caretaker fails to recognize the stress, their own physical and mental health can suffer. Depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, fatigue, and burnout are common among caretakers and should be treated appropriately.
Consult with Experienced Legal Counsel
Creating an estate plan for the individual with dementia can be a source of legal and financial protection. Many estate planning documents including living wills and powers of attorney require careful legal drafting. With the help of an experienced Brooklyn elder law lawyer, family members can ensure these documents are legally enforceable.
Brooklyn Elder Law Lawyers at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP Protect the Rights of Individuals with Dementia
If you are caring for a loved one living with dementia, it is important to have a plan in place. The experienced Brooklyn elder law lawyers at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP can help set up legal protections for senior citizens through the use of wills, revocable living trusts, pooled trusts, executorships, guardianships, and durable powers of attorney. With offices conveniently located in Brooklyn, New York and Lakewood, New Jersey, we proudly serve senior citizens and their families throughout Manhattan, Long Island, and Westchester, New York. To schedule an initial consultation with an experienced Brooklyn elder law lawyer today, call us at 212-495-8133 or submit an online inquiry form.