When an individual is diagnosed with dementia, it can often come as a shock, spurring feelings of anger, disbelief, or a sense of grief or sadness. So, you might ask, why is it important to get a dementia diagnosis? Some people feel an “official” diagnosis isn’t so important – they know their loved one is experiencing someform of memory loss, but they feel they can get by with managing symptoms as they appear. This assumption overlooks the reason why dementia care is so important. In this article, we’ll cover why it’s important to receive a proper diagnosis, the benefits of dementia-friendly environments, and why memory care might be right for your loved one.
BENEFITS OF AN OFFICIAL DIAGNOSIS
One major benefit to obtaining an official diagnosis at the first sign of memory loss is that it can help your loved one adjust to their new reality, providing a feeling of control when it comes to managing their condition and planning for their future.
An early diagnosis allows both you and your loved one the time you need to access resources for education and support. For instance, did you know the term “dementia” is a broad term encompassing several types of memory loss, including Alzheimer’s Disease, Vascular Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia, and more? It’s important to know the specific type of memory loss your loved one is facing, as symptoms and prognoses can differ among the various types of dementia.
HOW DOES CHANGE AFFECT DEMENTIA PATIENTS?
When it comes to the importance of dementia care, careful attention should be paid to the environment in which your loved one resides. Why is the environment so important to a person with dementia, you might wonder? Because individuals suffering from memory loss benefit from established routines and habits that help them avoid enhanced confusion or disorientation. Dementia often targets short-term memories first, meaning your loved one might have difficulty learning and retaining new information or skills, or remembering things that happened from day to day. This inability to remember new information can lead to frustration and anxiety.
It’s important to ensure your loved one is in a dementia-friendly environment, whether that’s in their home – if you can properly safeguard it for them – or in a memory care community like Holly Hill. While a move to a memory care community might seem like a big change that could disrupt your loved one’s established habits, caregivers and nurses at communities like ours understand how to effectively deal with memory loss and can help your loved one establish routines similar to those they developed at home. More importantly, they can help keep an eye on your loved one and ensure consistency in their daily habits, including bathing, grooming, eating, or medication management. They can also provide a familiar and consistent face for your loved one, relieving you from the pressures of being a caregiver for someone with memory loss. For more information on handling dementia behaviors as a caregiver, check out this guide from the Family Caregiver Alliance.
It’s important to be realistic and to remember that most forms of memory loss are progressive – prolonging the move to a memory care community could ultimately make it harder for your loved one to adjust if they have to make such a big change down the road.
WHAT WE OFFER
Holly Hill proudly offers memory care (link to memory care page) in a nurturing environment in Sulpur, Louisiana. If your loved one has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia and needs daily care to feel at home and enjoy more good days, we’re here to help.