Home Care Partners of Nebraska offers customized care, education, and support for families with dementia. (https://www.homecarepartnersofnebraska.com/memory-care-support)
There are a variety of assessments that you can do with your loved one if you are questioning the severity of their dementia and if it is causing an unsafe environment for themselves while at home alone. One way to do this is by evaluating their ability to perform instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). Can you identify if they are in need of assistance with any of the following daily tasks?
Scheduling Home Maintenance
Managing Money, Paying Bills, or Writing Checks
Carrying the Laundry Basket and Changing the Sheets
Exercising/Maintaining Balance (Have you seen a change in their Gait, or smaller steps?)
Preparing Meals (turning off stove)
Shopping and Carrying Groceries and Necessities Into the Home
Taking All Medications Correctly
Using the Telephone
Getting the Mail and Responding Accordingly
Staying Engaged Socially (ex. Attending Church/Social Circles) (Are you starting to see a withdrawal from regular meetings/groups?)
Driving (Go for a ride as the passenger, would you feel safe about them driving?)
If you notice these activities are starting to become more of a challenge, it’s time to create a personalized care plan for your loved one. We can assist you in this process. One of the biggest concerns that is expressed early on is, “My mom/dad/wife/husband say they don’t need help (but I’m worried).” Be aware that when Alzheimer’s is coupled with what is called Anosognosia (lack of awareness), there also comes a limited capacity for insight and/or acknowledgement of ability and safety. These changes in the brain cause individuals to truly believe that there is nothing wrong with them.
A senior's lack of awareness of their impairment can pertain to their memory, general thinking skills, emotions and physical abilities. Someone with dementia may experience occasional difficulty with communicating, word-finding and vocabulary, but they may explain these situations with a general excuse about forgetfulness or that they are “just tired.” Our mission at Home Care Partners of Nebraska is to support family caregivers during transitions, times of change, and setting expectations. Letting them know that their loved one may need time to accept care because they may be convinced a deficit does not actually exist. To learn more about the stages of memory care diseases and what to expect visit the Alzheimer's: Knowing the Stages blog.
Karla Frese, Certified Dementia Practitioner, calls the initial discussions regarding care support and changes, “Courageous Conversations.” It is important to encourage caregivers and family members to see the present reality — to see their loved one NOW rather than what once was — allowing the family to begin accepting, adapting, modifying, and learning about, “what’s next.” The more you plan ahead and create a safe environment the better the outcomes will be for everyone.
Home Care Partners of Nebraska is here to help you navigate options, create safe environments, and coordinate with healthcare partners creating daily peace of mind.