Educating Yourself about your Loved One’s Condition
Learning that a loved one has received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or a related type of dementia can be a terrifying experience for the whole family. You now have to start thinking about finding resources, managing finances, and rearranging your priorities. These are all stress inducing thoughts. One of the first and most helpful things you can do is to learn more about your loved one’s condition. Understanding signs, symptoms, and forms of treatment can prepare you for the long journey ahead. Follow these three rules:
- Schedule an appointment with your loved one’s doctor: This sounds obvious, but the point of the visit is to ask questions about what to expect and what resources exist that can help you. You should not be left alone or in the dark when trying to figure out what steps to take. Talking to your loved one’s physician is the first step to take in order to learn more about the road ahead of you.
- Meet with a counselor: There are counselors out there who are knowledgeable about aging life care. These counselors can inform you more about the symptoms and changes that will occur during the course of your loved one’s illness. They can also help you prepare, respond, and cope with difficult situations. They will prepare you by telling you what to expect; they will help you respond by teaching you techniques to handle the behaviors of your loved one; and they will help you cope by suggesting stress management behaviors to practice. Counseling services should also provide plenty of reading material specific to your loved one’s condition. Such services that exist are organizations like the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center.
- Seek out reliable resources online: Plenty of organizations, like ElderCare at Home, provide weekly blogs (like the one you are reading) to help inform family caregivers how to respond to challenges and to how to care for their loved one. If you do some browsing online, you can also find excellent blogs, e.g. the Alzheimer’s Association has a great blog. Just be sure that these blogs come from reliable sources, and any advice you receive should also be supported by a licensed physician and/or counselor. In other words, while online blogs can be extremely useful, make sure you don’t trust just any source. For a list of reliable Alzheimer’s blogs (which are not necessarily restricted to Alzheimer’s), click here.
If you have any questions, please call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.