Your time as a family caregiver might feel different after your elderly family member is diagnosed with dementia. This is something that you need to roll with as well as you possibly can, because more changes are coming down the line and some of them might happen faster than you’re ready to experience.
You’re Not Imagining It
You might think you’re imagining that caregiving feels different once your senior is diagnosed with dementia, but you’re not. There’s a lot that’s changing and it’s happening quickly. Your elderly family member may have good days and bad days, but dementia is a progressive illness. She may have plateaus that last for months, but things will generally trend downward again.
Every Day Brings Different Challenges
That’s not to say that every day is a bad one, because that’s not true. But you and your aging family member are going to face different challenges every single day. Working with experienced senior care providers as soon as possible after your senior’s diagnosis can help you to put plans and routines together that help. You may need to adjust those routines on occasion, but they provide a framework.
You’re Slowly Losing Your Senior
You’re also slowly coming to terms with the fact that you are losing bits and pieces of the person you love every day. It can be important to focus on memories in the earlier stages, when your senior is still mostly aware of what’s going on. This gives you a chance to solidify those memories and preserve them now. When those memories fade for your senior, you’ll still have them to hold onto.
Respite Time Becomes More Crucial
Respite time is always important but if you’ve been holding back on taking it to this point, now is the time to turn that around. Taking time that is just for you gives you a chance to take a step back and take care of yourself and your own needs for a little while. Then, when you do come back, you’re in a better headspace to do so. Senior care providers can be there with your family member, ensuring you’re able to shift your focus completely.
Caregiving is always going to change subtly, but dementia speeds that up for you and your senior. Look for ways to support your elderly family member and yourself as you face those changes together. It’s possible to enjoy the time that you have left with your senior.