Dementia Symptoms in Your Elderly Parents: What to Watch For

Dementia Symptoms in Your Elderly Parents: What to Watch For

Dementia Symptoms in Your Elderly Parents: What to Watch For

No one knows your parents’ personalities, hobbies, or quirks like you do. If you notice unusual behavior, or experience a persistent feeling that something is off, there’s a good chance it is. Aging is a well-known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. In fact, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease doubles every five years in people 65 and older.

Learning to spot key dementia symptoms in aging parents and documenting the early stages of dementia can make a big difference. Your observations could provide helpful insight to doctors, which can lead to a quicker and more accurate diagnosis. 

The warning signs may vary by individual, but the following eight dementia behaviors are indicators for you to watch for.

1. Difficulty remembering or trouble finding words

It’s normal for older adults to have lapses in thought here and there. But showing signs of forgetfulness every day is an early warning sign of dementia. If your mom is consistently losing track of her thoughts mid-sentence, or if your dad has trouble finding words in casual conversations, these are dementia signs to note.

2. Inability to learn something new

If your mom’s favorite activity is cooking, but she’s struggling to use a new appliance or follow a new recipe, dementia may be the culprit. If you notice your parents avoiding new activities or struggling to grasp a new concept, make note of it.

3. Struggling to manage finances

Do you notice your dad failing to properly manage bills or taxes? Does your mom struggle to balance her checkbook? Watch for bills piling up or other problem-solving skills diminishing as these are common behaviors of dementia.

4. Losing track of time

If your elderly parent continues to forget the day, month, year, holidays, or other important dates, this is a red flag. Write down what they forget and how often the lapses occur.

5. Poor judgment and decision-making

Have you noticed any behaviors or situations that seem out of the ordinary? For example, has your mom been spending more money than normal? Has your dad stopped wearing his seatbelt? If you begin to notice dangerous behavior or unsafe habits, write it down and talk to your parent’s doctor.

6. Problems remembering commitments

Reoccurring memory loss is an early sign of dementia. Everyone forgets something occasionally, but if it happens regularly, be sure to document when and how often.

For example, take note if your parents regularly forget:

      • Dentist or doctor’s appointments
      • Dinner plans with friends and family
      • Maintenance appointments for the car

7. Losing interest in favorite activities

Has your loved one stopped pursuing or lost interest in their favorite hobbies? Did your mom read or garden daily but no longer makes an effort? Pay attention to unusual behaviors especially if it doesn’t seem related to a physical health problem.

8. Repeating themselves

Have you noticed verbal repetition in your parent’s thoughts or phrases? It can be as simple as saying the same compliment over and over, such as, “I really love those picture frames you gave me.”

If your parent repeats stories, questions, thoughts, or jokes daily, or every other day, be sure to note the frequency.

Physical signs of dementia in elderly relatives

In addition to the eight major dementia symptoms above, many seniors will exhibit physical signs of cognitive decline. Some warning signs of cognitive. Some warning behaviors include:

      • Agitation – Mood changes that include confusion, irritability, depression, or anxiety are common in people with dementia. Your parent may become easily upset in different or new situations.
      • Wandering – People with dementia sometimes get lost in familiar places or walk aimlessly. Dementia wandering can happen for many reasons, including fear, anxiety, boredom, or an urge to follow past routines.
      • Sleep problems – Insomnia and sundown syndrome are common problems in people with dementia. Your parent may have problems falling asleep, or they may wake up several times throughout the night. They may also feel more restless at the end of the day which is often attributed to a condition call “sundowning.” Doctors believe sundowning can be triggered by exhaustion, excitement, or changes in the biological clocks of people with dementia. Managing sleep is an important aspect of taking care of elderly parents with dementia.
      • Eating problems – Your parent may forget to eat or drink. Medications to treat dementia symptoms can also affect your loved one’s appetite or interfere with food taste. Ensuring your loved one with dementia gets adequate fluids and nutrition can be a challenge.
      • Incontinence – As dementia progresses, your loved one may lose bladder and bowel control. Changes in environment may also lead to accidents because someone with dementia may not be able to find the bathroom or get there in time.

Document and share dementia behaviors with a doctor

Track signs of dementia using your phone or a journal. It’s important to share specific examples with a doctor.

If you’re worried about upsetting a loved one, submit your observations to their physician privately in writing. Keep in mind that HIPAA authorization is not needed for you to share concerns with a parent’s health professional.

Include details about:

      • When you first noticed dementia behavior
      • Specific dementia symptoms your parents are exhibiting
      • How often they struggle and when it happens
      • Changes in their normal routine or behavior

How to get help for your parents’ dementia symptoms

It’s important to find professional help after noticing early symptoms of dementia. 

        1. Find the right doctor – Doctors specializing in dementia will ask about problems related to common dementia behaviors. You should look for a physician whose specialty is geriatrics, neurology, or clinical psychiatry.
        2. Communicate observations in detail – The more details you can share regarding warning signs of dementia, the easier it can be for a doctor to determine the cause and tests needed for a diagnosis. The doctor can also develop more effective treatment options for dementia symptoms based on the specificity of the data collected.
        3. Prepare for a diagnosis – Dementia diagnoses are determined through a series of steps. There are many different possible tests to rule out other health conditions like a vitamin B12 deficiency, brain tumors, thyroid conditions, and more, as some of these conditions also may cause dementia symptoms. A dementia evaluation can include:
      • Reviewing a person’s medical history
      • Physical or mental exam
      • Lab tests
      • Brain imaging

4. Stay proactive – Continue to observe and take notes to help you and medical professionals determine the best care and treatment options for your mom or dad.

Myths About Assisted Living

Myths About Assisted Living

Is a “retirement community” or “assisted living” the same as a “nursing home?” Learn the truth about assisted living and debunk some common senior living myths.

MYTH #1:

“Assisted Living” is just another way to say “nursing home.”


This is one of the most common misunderstandings about senior living, but in reality, the two differ significantly. Assisted living communities provide housing and care to seniors who may need some help with daily tasks, but do not require the skilled care provided at a nursing home. They typically feature:

  • Individual apartments that residents can decorate and lock, just as they would a private apartment
  • 24/7 staff to help with activities of daily living, including medication management and personal hygiene
  • Three meals a day
  • Transportation, housekeeping, and laundry services

Some assisted living communities offer additional medical and memory care services. This varies by state and community, and in some cases, can allow couples to live in the same community despite needing different levels of care.

Nursing homes are designed for people who need the highest level of care and require help with nearly all of their daily living tasks. These facilities typically feature:

  • Private or shared rooms
  • Rehabilitative care, including surgical and medical recovery
  • Assistance with many activities of daily living, such as feeding, toileting, and getting in and out of bed

MYTH #2:

My mom or dad won’t like living in assisted living.


A recent study reports that 73% of families thought their senior loved one’s quality of life improved after moving to assisted living. Additionally, 60% of caregivers found that their personal quality of life improved. Many seniors fear losing their independence and privacy. It’s helpful to know most communities provide residents with a choice of spacious apartments with different floor plans and separate entrances. People are free to furnish their apartments with their own furniture and personal items. As in private life, apartment doors lock and are controlled by residents.

MYTH #3:

Family can, and should, care for their elders


While caregiving sometimes brings joy and strengthens relationships, it can also affect the caregiver’s ability to work, engage in social interactions and relationship, and maintain good physical and mental health. Data from the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) suggests caregivers often neglect their own health needs and suffer from the emotional and physical demands of caregiving. This, in turn, affects their ability to provide care. More than a third of caregivers report insufficient sleep, according to the CDC. Just as you expect a high quality of life for your parent or elderly loved one, you should expect the same for yourself. Choosing assisted living could result in a happier, healthier life for both of you.

MYTH #4:

The cost of assisted living is too high.


Assisted living is often the same or less than receiving the same care and services at home. Currently, the median monthly cost for assisted living in the United States is $4,051.00. While that cost may seem high, it includes everything many seniors need such as meals, transportation, activities, help with day-to-day tasks, medication management, and more.

MYTH #5:

The food is bland and the activities are boring.


Senior living communities are responding to people’s preferences for fine dining and high-tech fun. With the Baby Boomer generation entering senior living, many assisted living communities are changing to reflect a more demanding consumer. As for meals, dining options look more like restaurants, and less like buffet lines.

What if Mom or Dad Don’t Want to Move to Senior Living?

What if Mom or Dad Don’t Want to Move to Senior Living?

Change is challenging…especially as you age. Many of our parents have been in their own home for years, and the idea of this change in particular can cause anxiety and an abrupt objection. However, the best time to have the conversation with aging parents is before a crisis happens, so these changes can be made on their terms as much as possible.

The following information offers suggestions on how you can make the conversation easier.

Where do you start?

One of the biggest reasons the idea of moving to a senior living environment can be scary, is that it is a huge change. Break down the thought process, and you’ll be sure to see better results. Start with a simple question like, “What are your biggest daily struggles?” Ask them how you can help. Focus on the little things that are making life at home less than ideal.

Don’t forget who’s boss. Few people respond well when someone starts a tough conversation with commands like, “You need to…” or “You should…” Remember that they still see themselves as your parent you are their child, no matter how old you are.

If the conversation is going well…great! Consider moving to next steps. But, if you are starting the conversation early enough, you can simply ‘plant the seed’ by discussing needs and short-comings of home life. Then, after your parent has had time to think about it and even experience these short-comings more, re-approach the conversation. Unless there is an immediate need or you are concerned that your parent is not safe, the slower approach can yield more success.

Take it to the Next Step – What’s the Cost?

So your parents have warmed to the idea. Now it’s time to talk about their home in the context of real estate. Ask if they’ve thought about selling their home and using the equity to move into a place that would be more comfortable and have lower or no maintenance.

If they’re open to considering a sale, there are lots of great resources where you can help them understand what their home may be worth. Consider looking at home estimates on websites like Zillow, Trulia, or

This is also a great opportunity to do a cost comparison of life at home versus life at a senior living community. The difference may surprise you. With your parents’ help, list their home-related expenses like utilities, property taxes, insurance, maintenance, and repairs. Comparing this list to the cost of senior living, which is typically inclusive of all these things, it’s hard to argue with the data.

The Classic provides an easy Cost Calculator tool for accomplishing this exercise. Click here:

Senior living is a smart choice! If you can show your parents that selling their home and moving into a full-service senior living community will ultimately save them money, that may help ease their anxieties.

Sometimes this basic cost comparison isn’t enough. You may also need to do a little investigating into the expense of solving some of the challenges within your parent’s home to illustrate your willingness to consider their home as an option, as well as show them how costly these ‘fixes’ can be. Consider researching things like:

  • Non-skid flooring and removing slippery rugs
  • Installation of grab bars in bathrooms which can hurt re-sale!
  • Medical alert and security alarms monthly subscriptions can add up and fees associated with their help can escalate quickly!
  • Outside ramps, if stairs become difficult to navigate this can also negatively affect re-sale.
  • Handrails along stairs, hallways
  • Motion-activated, bright lighting in hallways, closets, and stairwells
  • Wider doorways to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers
  • Stair climbers
  • Walk-in bathtub/non-slip shower
  • Security cameras

Get a Professional’s Input

Perhaps you don’t have the luxury of an early conversation, and your parents are in danger of falling or you have serious concerns about their abilities to care for themselves. It may be time to enlist the help of third-party professionals.

If costs are still an objection, an accountant or financial advisor can help them understand the costs and expenses associated with staying where they are versus selling their home and using the equity to enjoy the rest of their lives in a senior living community. Sometimes hearing this from someone that isn’t their child is all it takes.

You care for your parents, and you likely already know what professionals they use for their healthcare. Ask their doctor to talk to your parents about their long-term needs and what to expect if they have medical conditions that may come with mobility or memory issues. Chances are they have trusted their doctor for quite some time, so they may place more trust in the doctor’s assessment of their need for change than yours.

Don’t forget about asking a friend for assistance. You may have friends whose parents have sold their homes and moved to senior living communities, so ask how it went and what they did. Invite them to share their stories. And don’t forget your parents’ own friends who may already transitioned to senior living. Sometimes hearing someone else’s story about making such a big change so late in life can be comforting.

Overcome Fears by Scheduling a Tour

Sometimes, the best way to overcome objections is to see life at a community for yourself. Visiting a community will show them what a ‘day in the life’ is really like. They may even encounter an old friend who’s living there now. Showing them the chance of renewed friendships, and even the ability to make new ones, can go a long way in helping the decision process.

Be prepared for each tour with a list of questions and a checklist of features to evaluate. Talk to the community’s staff about costs and what the living fees include. Your parents may be pleasantly surprised at all the amenities and perks that come with senior living.

If All Else Fails, Have an Aging Plan in Place

So if you’ve exhausted your efforts to convince them to move and your parents aren’t in dire need or are still objecting to the change, then work with them to make an aging plan so that when and if something does happen, and they need care, you’ve got a plan in place.

  • Get a medical alert system. Look for a system that has a fall alert sensor. New technologies you may already have in your home can also help your parents. Explore options with smart speakers from Amazon Echo and Google Home. These devices have apps that can help seniors with things like medication reminders, daily routines, turning lights on and off and calling friends and family.
  • List all medications. Write down all medications, both prescribed and over-the-counter, including dosages, prescribing doctor and frequency and put the list in a place where your parents and you can easily access it. Make sure you have the list backed up in case it gets misplaced, or you need it quickly in an emergency.
  • Note allergies. Along with the list of medications, including any food, medication, or other allergies, such as latex or adhesives.
  • Write and display a community DNR. What’s a community DNR? If your parents have a do-not-resuscitate order, does it apply to medical emergencies that happen in the community, outside a hospital or healthcare setting? If not, make sure it does.

Plan to check in on your parents more regularly. Consider planning a daily call with them. And when you do speak with them, pay attention to how they’re speaking. Have they repeated the same story over and over? Can they follow their train of thought? Are they slurring? Changes like these can indicate health problems and should be addressed immediately.

Tips for Transitioning to Senior Living

Tips for Transitioning to Senior Living

When your loved one has lived in their own home for years, transitioning to a senior living community can be intimidating. More often than not, it’s one of the biggest adjustments a senior will make in their older years. There’s no way to completely remove the worries and anxieties that come with this move. However, there are some guiding steps you can take to help ease the transition for both you and your loved one.

Getting Prepared: Before the Move

Once you and your loved one have decided it’s time to transition to senior living, there are several steps you should take to prepare.

  • Choose the right community.

Take the time to research and tour multiple senior living communities in the geographic area you are planning to move to. This will help you get a sense of the social environment, dining, amenities, and overall feel of each location. It’s best to start researching early on before you have an immediate need to move, since you’ll be able to take your time more with the decision. When you visit a community, you should get the opportunity to ask their leadership, caregivers, and staff any questions you may have. Be observant of the level of cleanliness, friendliness of staff and whether residents seem content in their environment. When in doubt, trust your intuition.

  • Research senior living costs.

When making your decision, be sure to get a clear understanding of each community’s pricing model. Some communities will offer true, all-inclusive pricing, which means there is a single monthly fee that covers everything. Many others will offer “levels of care pricing,” which is a tier-based program with costs that vary based on the type of care your loved one receives.

  • After choosing a community, arrange a time to visit or tour it a least one more time before moving in.

After deciding on a community, it doesn’t hurt to get even more familiar with it before moving in. If you have time for another visit, use the opportunity to explore the campus, speak with current residents, participate in a community social event, or enjoy a meal in the restaurant. Be sure to arrange visits with your community ahead of time, as this will allow them to plan an agenda for while you are there.

  • Pack efficiently and deliberately.

First and foremost, check with your community to see if they offer packing services. Getting help with this process will go a long way in smoothing the transition to senior living. When packing, prioritize the most important items first, and don’t stress about doing everything right away. Creating lists to keep the process organized will save time. Start with essential items like toiletries, medications, clothing, bedding, and furniture. After the big things are taken care of, move onto smaller items that may still be important but are stuffed away in the garage or attic. If you approach packing in a step-by-step manner, without rushing it, the task becomes bar less intimidating.

  • Make sure all logistical and “housekeeping” items are taken care of.

Any time you make a move, whether to senior living or somewhere else, there are logistical items that need to be taken care of. Make a plan to cancel ongoing services like cable, internet, and utilities that will be provided at your loved one’s new community. Contact the postal service to have mail forwarded from their old home to their community address, and have their address updated on credit cards, bank accounts, magazine subscriptions and anywhere else it might be listed. Last, but not least, keep a record of all moving expenses as they are tax deductible.

  • Allow time for the “emotional transition.”

No matter how prepared you or your loved one is for a move to senior living, there still may be fears and apprehensions. No one is completely ready for this type of move, so feelings like these are completely normal. Take advantage of social circles for support, whether they be family, friends, spiritual guides, online resources, or elsewhere. Talking through your fears is a great way to overcome them. Our most important piece of advice is to be patient. Everyone has a different timeline for their emotional transition, and that’s okay.

  • Set up your loved one’s new living space.

One of the best ways to make your loved one feel at home is to make their new living space feel familiar. Arrange furniture and decorations in a similar fashion as they were in the previous home. Display sentimental items prominently since these little things can go a long way. Taking time to create a functional and aesthetically pleasing living space will go a long way in smoothing the transition to your new home.

Getting Acclimated: The First Week and Beyond

Getting adjusted to senior living doesn’t happen overnight. From the first day through the first week, your loved one will be very busy at their new community. Here are some tips on how they can make the most of their initial days in senior living:

  • Get acquainted with neighbors.

Your loved one will likely be living in an apartment with several neighbors in their hallway, on their floor, or even right next door. Each person they meet has the potential to become a new friend. Encourage your loved one to introduce themselves to as many people as possible. Other residents have gone through the same transition period and they can serve as a fantastic resources and support network.

  • Familiarize yourself with community caregivers and staff.

During the first week, your loved one will get acquainted with several staff members at the community. For those at an assisted living level of care, this includes meetings with caregivers to assess their need and create a care plan. They will also meet with nurses, dining staff, and activity staff along with others on the community leadership team. The job of the community staff is to make sure your loved one feels comfortable, so don’t hesitate to bring up questions you have for them at any time.

  • Spend time with loved ones.

Now that the majority of COVID-19 restrictions are being relaxed, be sure to visit your loved one regularly, or as often as possible. This is especially important during their first weeks at the community, since it will help them get adjusted to their new surroundings without feeling abandoned. Try to come with a consistent schedule for visiting if you can. Sharing a meal is a great way to spend time whenever you visit. Most communities offer a range of dining options from dine-in to take-out, so check and see what’s available.

  • Get involved in community events and activities.

One of the major benefits of senior living communities is the social programming they offer. Make sure your loved one gets a copy of the community’s activity calendar and speaks with other residents about their favorite activities. Attending social events early on provides a great opportunity to learn about what’s available and get to know other residents. Over time, they will discover which activities are their favorites and have new things to look forward to on a regular basis.

  • Dine with other residents and members of staff.

More often than not, the dining room is the center of socialization in a senior living setting. Encourage your loved one to schedule meals with their new neighbors and connect with other residents during meals. Members of community staff are often glad to share a meal as well, and they have the potential to become great friends.

  • Get involved in a group.

Most senior living communities have special groups focused on specific hobbies, interests, or values. Examples might be a playing cards group, gardening club, book club, bible study, or resident council. Your loved one should speak with the community’s life enrichment director as well as other members to discover what’s out there and see what they might be interested in joining.

  • Take advantage of fitness opportunities.

Maintaining your loved one’s overall wellness is important, and their physical health should be taken into consideration. Most communities have activities that engage the residents in recreational activities, so encourage your loved one to participate. Staying active is not only good for their physical health, but it can help them feel more mentally sharp, happy, and upbeat.

  • Stay involved in life outside the community.

Joining a senior living community doesn’t mean your loved one’s outside life gets put on pause. They’ll still have the freedom to go about their business where they like and when they like. If your loved one no longer drives, many communities offer transportation trips to the doctor, grocery store, and other common needs. For trips that aren’t covered by the community directly, your loved one can find transportation through a home care or ride sharing service.

There is no single piece of advice that is the magical answer for easing the transition to senior living. However, if you follow the above tips as guidance, it will go a long way.

Considering a Move to Independent Living Before You Need Assisted Living?

Considering a Move to Independent Living Before You Need Assisted Living?

Many seniors feel there is no real reason to move into a senior living community unless they need the services and support of assisted living. Their thinking is that as long as they’re healthy and mobile, they should continue to live in their own homes. For these folks, a move into a senior living community seems like surrendering.

There are thousands upon thousands of seniors in independent living communities who will happily dispel that line of thinking. Aside from health considerations, there are solid reasons to relocate before you actually need assisted living.

You lose the constant, nagging worries and the expense of home maintenance.

Take a look around your home. Is everything in good repair, or are there small signs of neglect and deterioration? If you see those signs, that may mean you no longer have the desire or the energy to keep your home in tip-top shape. Perhaps it’s time to move, before your home investment begins to lose value. And a big plus…housekeeping is also included or available in independent living communities.

Everyday transportation challenges are overcome.

Maybe your driving isn’t quite what it used to be. Or maybe you’ve found yourself spending longer in the car to get to the grocery store and pharmacy and the places you can buy things that are essential to your lifestyle. Either way, an independent living community can radically shrink the distances you have to travel. Most communities either furnish their own transportation or are contracted with a local transportation company. Many facilities also offer onsite canteen-like stores as well as beauty and barber shops.

Cooking becomes optional.

Speaking of buying groceries, are you tired of cooking? Residents of senior living communities often say that the food is the best part. If you’ve become bored with cooking and cleaning up afterwards, and understand that a steady diet of take-out is probably not meeting your nutritional needs, you will love that delicious meals are included or available in independent living communities.

Your social life will blossom.

Are you beginning to feel more and more isolated? Has your circle of friends diminished and does your datebook have blank pages? Maybe it’s time to make new friends. And one of the best places to make those new friends is at an independent living community.

First of all, the residents already living there are your peer group, which means no more trying to buddy-up to the young couple who moved in next door. Second of all, the social amenities and activities at most independent living communities are second to none. You’ll not only find companionship, but exercise classes, card games, painting classes, and other arts and crafts and hobbies of all kinds, movie nights, lunch and dinner outings, wine tastings, music, and much more.

The transition to assisted living is easier.

You’ve already made the “senior living decision” and probably discovered it was one of the choices you’ve ever made. If at some point you need it, assisted living is the next step on the journey. Think of it as independent living more personal services. In assisted living, you can continue to enjoy many of the activities and conveniences you’ve experienced in independent living, and now you know how fulfilling the senior living experience can be.

You may not fully understand this until you’ve made the move, but with independent living, you don’t give up your freedom and independence you improve it! Independent living can translate to more convenience, enjoyment, peace-of-mind, and yes…independence.

Tips to Easing the Transition of Moving a Parent to Memory Care

Tips to Easing the Transition of Moving a Parent to Memory Care

The process of moving a parent to memory care is often full of unknowns but placing a loved one a memory care community doesn’t have to be filled with frustration.

Key steps to take before moving a parent to memory care

Several important parts of moving a parent to memory care happen ahead of moving day. In advance, caregivers can focus on managing emotions, maintaining effective communication, and finding small ways to make new surroundings feel like home.

  • Stick to a simple family script

Before the memory care move comes the memory care conversation. Likely, you’ll need to frequently remind your parent that they’re moving. Because moving to memory care often involves the whole family, many different voices and opinions may chime in, which can overwhelm seniors with dementia. To curb disorientation and reassure your loved one, establish a script or a straightforward, comforting response that each family member can return to again and again. Be concise and make sure everyone in the family is using the same verbiage. Keep the message simple. You can tell your aging relative “You’re going to your new home,” or “This is a place where you’ll be safe.”

  • Pack for your family member

Moving can be an emotionally turbulent experience for anyone, but it can be especially overwhelming for a loved one with dementia. The process of taking down pictures and boxing up beloved items only adds to stress and disorientation. To minimize panic and outbursts, try packing when your parent is asleep, at an appointment, or spending time with friends.

  • Personalize your parent’s living space

The memory care community you choose will become your family member’s new home. You should try to create a homey feeling from the start by incorporating a senior’s decorations and personal items into the space before the move if possible. That way when the resident walks into their apartment, they will see their belongings and hopefully have less anxiety. It’s also recommended that family members prioritize meaningful objects when considering what to bring to a memory care facility. Instead of moving all of your parent’s belongings at once, start with a few to encourage comfort rather than clutter. It also provides an opportunity for caregivers to engage in redirection and practice asking questions. By asking your parent if they want a certain pillow or picture, this tactic will allow mom or dad to make their voice heard and play an active role in their transition to memory care.

  • Tips for a smooth moving day for a parent with dementia

Just as family members should handle packing, they can shoulder key responsibilities on moving day to take the pressure off of their senior loved one. Moving day also marks a milestone a time when you can set up future success for your parent and connection for everyone involved.

  • Encourage your loved one to socialize and participate

While you’re unboxing final additions to your loved one’s memory care room, they can explore the community and begin to adjust to their new surroundings.

Aim to move during a memory care activity your loved one might enjoy, like an art class, singalong, or game of bingo. Experiencing the benefits of memory care right away can decrease moving day stress and give your family member an opportunity to meet friends and get a taste of their new daily routine.

  • Acknowledge your parent’s concerns and questions

On moving day, your parent may ask to come home, wonder why they have to be in memory care, or otherwise express distress. In these situations, lean on empathy. It’s not unusual for the person to want what they had before, whether it was working for them or not. Saying things like, “I hear you…I imagine this is really hard,” can be beneficial.

  • Ask how they’re feeling about their transition to memory care

Emotional situations also stand out as an active listening opportunity. During these moments, delve into your family member’s mindset to deepen your understanding and bond. In order to meet them where they are at, ask questions like, “Where is home?” They may describe it as the home they grew up in. When they’re upset and confused, ask questions about what they’re thinking and feeling. This approach to communication may help you know what to expect the next time your senior loved one is upset or disoriented, as well as provide insights into what’s causing these emotions.

  • Have important conversations with community staff

After moving a parent to memory care, the community’s staff will become an integral support system. On the day of the move, make a plan for continued communication and connection. Some suggested questions to ask the staff are:

“How will you help my parent transition?”

“What are my opportunities to see my loved one?”

“Do you have a process of sending updates?”

“Do you record and share activities that show my moved one is being engaged?”

Express your gratitude to community staff for helping care for your parent as they acclimate, and for keeping you in the loop.

After the move: continuing the transition to memory care

Even after you’ve moved your parent into memory care, there are steps you can take to help them thrive. Ease the transition for them and you by continuing to reach out and monitoring how they’re adapting to the community. Avoid potentially triggering moments during your visits and recognize that the transition may take time.

Stay connected in a way that’s healthy for you and your senior loved one

Communication and regular visits with your mom and dad show you’ll continue to support them and be present. However, communication can be challenging during the first weeks or months after the move. During visits and phone calls, your parent may ask to come home, become disoriented, or be hostile.

Reduce distress for seniors with dementia by following these tips when visiting their memory care community:

Visit at the right times. Whenever possible, opt for morning visits and avoid evenings. While those with dementia are generally more alert in the mornings, late afternoon can coincide with sundowner’s syndrome.

Participate in programming and meals with your senior loved one. Visiting during a game, activity, or lunchtime can distract from potentially fraught emotions. It also marks a clear end point for the visit making goodbyes easier.

Focus on the positive. It’s not just people with dementia who get frustrated. Caregivers can easily fall into negativity while navigating the challenges of supporting a loved one with cognitive decline.

Accept that the transition to memory care might take several weeks

Moving into a memory care facility marks a big change one that requires time and patience from everyone involved. Families should expect a window of four to six weeks for seniors to become fully acclimated. During this time, family members should validate their loved one’s feelings, rather than simply push past them.

Be open to reassessing needs, and embrace flexibility

There’s no exact formula for assuring a memory care facility is the right fit but instead multiple opportunities to evaluate and readjust. While adjustment challenges are normal, watch out for persisting red flags. If your parent has difficulty making friends or engaging in community activities, consider talking with staff to address concerns, and working together on a plan to overcome the problem. If your loved one continues to express distress and asks to come home after six weeks, this may signal they feel trapped and abandoned. With a little flexibility, families can explore shifts within the community or as a last resort, seek a new facility that may be a better match.

Moving a parent to memory care during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupts many routine elements of moving a parent to memory care. Instead of taking a firsthand role in the moving process, caregivers may have to leave the bulk of tasks to facility staff. New residents might also have to quarantine upon move-in, and visitors will face additional screening and safety protocols.

These circumstances make clear communication even more essential. When moving a parent to senior living during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should ask the following questions:

  • Is there a quarantine period for seniors moving into a memory care community? If so, how long are new residents expected to isolate?
  • What role can families play in the move while maintaining safety and following established protocols?
  • What activities and programming opportunities are in place for residents during the pandemic?
  • In the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case, how will communities keep residents safe and prevent a potential outbreak?
  • How does the community handle caregiver visits during COVID-19? Are visitors expected to quarantine ahead of time, take a test, wear a mask, or see their senior loved one in an outdoor setting?

Power of Attorney for Your Elderly Loved One – A Basic Guide

Power of Attorney for Your Elderly Loved One – A Basic Guide

As a parent or relative ages, it can become a struggle to balance respect for his/her autonomy and independence while protecting them from negative consequences of mental or physical health problems. A Power of Attorney (POA) is one way to ensure that no matter what happens down the road, your loved one’s wishes will be prioritized.

A POA is one of the most important documents for elderly parents and grandparents, but it’s one that many families haven’t prepared. Fortunately, setting up a power of attorney is fairly simple, and it can save you from future complications. Executing a power of attorney is an important step to take sooner than later, even if your aging loved one is still physically and cognitively healthy.

To follow is information about the different types of power of attorney, common reasons why seniors need them, and how to have a POA executed for your aging relative.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is document, signed by a competent adult called “the principal,” that grants a trusted individual the power to make decisions on their behalf if the principal is unable to do so. The person designated to act in the principal’s best interest is called “the agent.” It’s the agent’s job to make sure the principal in this case, their aging parent or loved one is well-cared for.

Most seniors will execute multiple varieties of POA. An elder law attorney can help your aging relative determine the right combination for their needs.

  • General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney is comprehensive it gives a senior’s agent power to act on their behalf financially and legally. General power of attorney can be used for healthy parents who want help with financial or personal matters.

  • Their POA is sometimes called a financial power of attorney. It gives an agent power to:
  • Sign documents on the senior’s behalf
  • Open or close bank accounts, and withdraw funds
  • Buy and sell property, real estate, and assets
  • Trade and sell stock
  • Pay bills and cash checks on the principal’s behalf
  • Enter contracts for utilities and services like housekeeping or home health
  • Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney also known as a health care proxy or health care agent is someone who makes health care decisions for the principal if they’re incapacitated. It’s their job to ensure a senior’s wishes, as stated in their advanced directive or living will, are upheld in case of end-of-life care.

A medical POA only goes into effect when a senior is deemed incapacitated. The agent named is responsible for ensuring health providers follow instructions from the senior’s medical power of attorney documents. They also have authority over:

  • Medical treatment
  • Surgical procedures
  • Feeding tubes and artificial hydration
  • Organ donation
  • Selection of health care or senior living facilities
  • Release of medical records
  • Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney allows the agent to make financial and medical decisions through all mental and physical circumstances, unless the principal chooses to revoke it.

Even if the senior is in a coma, has experienced significant cognitive decline from dementia, or is otherwise deemed incapacitated, a durable power of attorney allows the agent to make decisions on their behalf. A non-durable power of attorney is void if the principal becomes mentally incapacitated, so it’s not recommended for dementia patients or seniors at risk of dementia.

  • Limited (special) Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney is exactly what it sounds like a senior can give someone agency for a limited amount of time, which is generally stipulated in the document. For instance, a limited power of attorney could go into effect for a specific business transaction, like a real estate sale.

  • Springing Power of Attorney

A springing power of attorney is executed in advance, but doesn’t go into effect until a senior receives a declaration of incapacity. Seniors who want to maintain autonomy as long as possible may prefer a springing power of attorney. However, this decision could lead to complications and delays down the road. Medical evaluations related to determining incompetence can be costly and time-consuming and are subject to legal conflicts.

Six Common Reasons for Seniors to Consider a Power of Attorney

A POA grants a chosen relative or friend the ability to make decisions when a parent or grandparent is either unwilling or unable. Here are a few reasons seniors may feel it’s time to set up a power of attorney:

  • Financial responsibilities

If your aging relative has a hard time staying on top of financial obligations, or is in danger of overspending their savings, it may be time to establish a financial power of attorney. Check for overdue bills, duplicate checks, and fraudulent requests for funds.

  • Alzheimer’s disease

It’s vital to set up durable power of attorney for an elderly parent with dementia before they experience significant cognitive decline, since it can be complicated to execute legal documents once a senior is deemed mentally incapacitated.

  • Upcoming surgery

Invasive surgeries can lead to complications. A power of attorney ensures that a senior’s wishes will be respected in case of emergency.

  • Planned travel

Sometimes, a POA is established out of convenience, rather than medical necessity. If seniors are traveling in retirement, they may want someone at home able to cash incoming checks and handle bills.

  • Medical diagnosis

A senior with a terminal diagnosis may want to establish a power of attorney to ensure their wishes are met when they become incapacitated or too sick to make health care decisions.

  • Unstable family relationships

It’s common for adult children to fight about a parent’s care, especially if they disagree about finances or end-of-life decisions. A power of attorney clearly designates who’s responsible for upholding the senior’s wishes and can block ill-intentioned family members from intervening.

How to select a power of attorney for an elderly relative

Choosing an agent is often one of the most time-consuming parts of the process, since it’s important for seniors to ensure their best interests. To follow are five questions to consider when selecting an agent for a senior’s power of attorney:

  • Is a family member the best choice?

Many seniors select a relative as POA by default. There can be instances whereby this may not be the best choice if family relationships are strained. And advisor, close friend, or professional proxy can all be safe alternatives.

  • Is there a knowledgeable option?

Someone familiar with medical procedures and treatments may be able to make better decisions as medical power of attorney. Someone with experience in accounting would be an ideal financial or general power of attorney.

  • Should power of attorney be split?

A senior can choose one agent for general power of attorney and another for medical power of attorney. Or, they can choose multiple agents for both. If there are multiple agents who disagree, decisions could be delayed, however.

  • Will the agent be able to carry out the senior’s wishes?

The top responsibility of a POA is to comply with the senior’s directives. Sometimes, this is emotionally difficult. For example, a spouse may struggle with making the decision to end life support, even if it’s what their partner wanted.

  • Who does the senior trust?

A power of attorney agent should always put the needs and well-being of the senior first, no matter their own circumstances. Trust is imperative when selecting an agent.

Sometimes, adult children can feel hurt or jealous knowing their parent has named a sibling as POA. A family elder care planning meeting can be a forum to discuss choices and help people begin to accept them.

When and how should a senior set up a power of attorney?

A senior’s wishes may not be known or respected without legal documentation, so it’s important to discuss a power of attorney with aging relatives.

Now is the time to talk about a POA

Experts recommend establishing a power of attorney for an elderly parent before they need it especially if they’ve received a concerning diagnosis. Patients diagnosed with early-stage dementia should set up a power of attorney before the disease progresses. If an aging relative is determined no longer competent to make their own decisions and doesn’t have a POA, family members face a complicated, expensive legal process to set up a conservatorship or guardianship.

Contact an elder law attorney

While many do-it-yourself power of attorney forms are available, it’s a good idea to have a lawyer draft one tailored to your family’s needs. There are many issues to consider, and one size doesn’t fit all. To follow, are four common scenarios an elder law attorney can help address:

  • Springing power of attorney

If the power of attorney is springing, it’s important that the method for determining incapacity is clearly spelled out in the document. Otherwise, the need to determine incapacity can cause delays and extra expense.

  • Appointing a guardian

Usually, if guardianship proceedings become necessary, the court will appoint a guardian for a senior. However, if a lawyer has nominated a guardian in the durable power of attorney, the court will usually honor that nomination.

  • Executing the power of attorney

Requirements for power of attorney differ between states. A local estate planning attorney or elder law attorney can ensure that the POA is executed properly.

  • Bank acceptance

Due to potential legal consequences, some banks and other institutions are hesitant to accept a power of attorney, even if it’s executed correctly. Banks may have their own standard power of attorney forms for you to sign. An elder law attorney can ensure any documents you sign with a bank match the original power of attorney.

Should I Move to Senior Living During Covid-19 or Still Wait?

Should I Move to Senior Living During Covid-19 or Still Wait?

Over the last several months, many families have made the decision to keep their aging parents or loved ones at home, instead of moving into a senior living community, out of fear of exposure to COVID-19. At The Classic, we have heard many time over that adult children are overwhelmed, tired, and not focused on their own self-care, but they still worry about mom or dad moving into a community setting. There truly are some definite reasons why moving into a senior living community sooner actually may be the right option:

  • Vaccination and Availability of Medical Resources

Senior living communities like The Classic are partnering with pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens to administer COVID-19 vaccines to their residents and staff. A first round of vaccines has already been given to our population with a second vaccine due to be administered shortly. You can be assured that your loved one is receiving the vaccine and any ongoing boosters at no cost without having to be exposed to other individuals as they would possibly be at a clinic or other health care center.

  • Exercise and Physical Health

Especially for those with memory loss, engagement and exercise are critical for overall health. The Classic offers a wealth of activities that are purposefully designed for our individual residents. With team members onsite daily to provide leadership for these activities, it prevents the need to bring in outside providers or trainers which increases the risk of exposure. Having onsite activity leaders also allows a bond to be formed between staff and residents making them more likely to join in the fun.

  • Safety and Security

Private residences may run out of resources like food, toiletries, medications, or other necessities that senior communities have their fingertips. Senior communities are often well-stocked with all necessary items no toilet paper shortages here. In addition, adequate senior communities will monitor deliveries, use hand sanitizer, have amplification of cleaning procedures, and ensure that the limited visitors to the community follow proper safety protocols.

  • Connection in a Time of Social Distancing

Many seniors are currently isolated in their homes and have been for several months. This can make it difficult to keep connected with family. Senior communities like The Classic continue to offer scheduled in-person family visits as well as access to video technology so families and loved ones can stay in touch. Our Life Enrichment team continues to come up with creative ways to provide activities that are safe and fun.

  • Less Strain and Stress, More Focus on Your Relationship with Your Loved One

As you are well aware, it can be straining to offer help and care to your elderly loved ones while also keeping yourself and your family safe and healthy during this unprecedented time. By helping mom or dad transition and move into a new home in a senior living community, younger family members are liberated from caregiving roles and instead can spend more meaningful time with their loved ones. Families constantly express how appreciative they are of the individualized care and engagement provided for their loved one and how they wish they had decided to make the choice sooner.

Whether you are searching for independent living, assisted living, or memory care, The Classic has made the purposeful choice to dedicate our staff to providing exemplary care. You can be assured that your loved ones are good hands!

Convincing Your Parent to Move to Assisted Living

Convincing Your Parent to Move to Assisted Living

Conventional wisdom says that we all want to stay in our own homes for as long as we can. That is how most of our elders feel, but it’s not always in their best interest to do so. How do we talk with them about the realities and dangers of staying at home once their health is failing? How do we convince them that a move to an assisted living community could be a mentally and physically beneficial option?

Is Aging in Place a Safe Option for Seniors?

Part of the problem with convincing elders, and many younger people for that matter, is that most haven’t been inside a modern assisted living facility. Deep inside, they harbor the outdated images of an “old folks” rest home, with cement block walls and the smell of stale urine. They consider a move from the family home as one more step away from independence and one step closer toward death. This image and mindset are stubborn and inaccurate for most seniors.

Professional in-home care and a personal alarm are sufficient for some seniors to remain safely at home. But if they are alone or their spouse is frail, there’s no one to help them in case they fall and can’t set off their alarm. There are few opportunities to socialize. Meals become a chore, so some seniors stop eating. Their memory may be failing, so the stove doesn’t get turned off. An elder who stubbornly clings to the idea that their familiar home is the best for them is often a sad and lonely sight.

Seniors Thrive in Assisted Living

Contrast this life with living in a reputable assisted living center, whether it’s a stand-alone facility, one connected to a nursing home or a small family operation where only a few seniors reside. In any of these situations, seniors can thrive for several reasons. They don’t have the responsibility of maintaining a home, so they are relieved of the pressure to hire help, tackle household projects themselves or let the house deteriorate. Assisted Living communities have trained staff available 24/7 in case residents need medical help or other assistance. Fully prepared nutritious food and snacks are available. Perhaps, more importantly, seniors can make new friends and have an abundance of engaging activities to choose from.

So…you know that you can’t keep providing the constant oversight that has been taking over your life and, by extension, the lives of your spouse and children. You are convinced that mom and/or dad need to make a move. But, how do you go about convincing them that it’s time to think about a move to assisted living?

Convincing a Parent to Consider Assisted Living

  • First, plant the seed. Don’t approach your loved one(s) as though you’ve already made the decision for them. Simply mention that there are other options out there that could make life easier and more fun for them.
  • Next, research nearby assisted living communities and offer to take them on some tours. If he or she is willing, great! But don’t push it. Drop the subject if they resist, and wait for another day to tackle this next step.
  • Wait for a “teachable moment” to present itself. Did mom fall, but manage to avoid getting badly hurt? Use that as a springboard. You may want to wait a bit or immediately say something like, “Wow, that was a close call, and I’m sure it was a very scary experience for you. Once you’re feeling better, maybe we could go look at the new assisted living center over by the church. We’d both feel better if you had people around.” Go with your gut on the timing, but use this unfortunate event as an opportunity to give your loved one a gentle reality check.
  • Unless you consider your loved one’s need for placement in assisted living an emergency, don’t push. It’s hard to wait, but you will likely need to. Wait for, say, a very lonely day when mom is complaining about how she never sees her friends anymore. Then gently try again. Do your best to make them feel they are in control of their life and this decision.
  • Ask around to see if anyone you know has a loved one who is already made the move. It’s even better if you find that one of your loved one’s friends has already made the move. Just like your first day of school when you looked for a friend any friend who may be in your class, your parent would feel much better if there was a familiar face already in the senior living community.
  • Even if they don’t know anyone in a specific facility, you can still take your parent to enjoy a meal or participate in an activity, such as playing cards or Wii bowling. Show off the social aspects of a good community. Keep it light and don’t force the issue. Tour more than one community, if possible, ask your parent for their input.
  • On tours, show interest in how much privacy residents have. Ask about bringing furniture from home and how much space there is in each room. Take a measuring tape and visualize how your loved one’s apartment could be set up and decorated. Demonstrate the same level of excitement as you would if you were helping your parent move to a new apartment, because that is exactly what you are doing.
  • Stress the benefits and peace of mind that increased safety measures will offer both of you.
  • Highlight the fact that assisted living allows seniors to forgo daily chores and hassles so they can focus on things they actually want to do. There’s no yard work, but gardening activities are offered. Meals are available in the dining room or restaurant, but many apartment feature full kitchen, so seniors can cook if they wish. There’s plenty of freedom to be alone, but also plenty of opportunity for company when the desire it. You know your loved one best, so stress the aspects that you know they’ll enjoy.

The last step in this process is to wait and let it all sink in. Unfortunately, many caregivers have to wait for another fall or other health scare to occur before their elders will be willing to make the decision themselves.

If your family is close-knit, arrange a meeting and tell mom or dad how much better everyone would feel if the move were made. Don’t make it seem like an intervention or a done deal that they have no say in. Allow everyone involved to discuss their concerns and anxieties about the current situation and a potential move. Third parties often make headway where family fails.

Making The Move to Assisted Living

Be sensitive to your parent’s feelings. Leaving a home full of memories is a very difficult and emotional decision. Whittling down a lifetime of possessions is a lot to ask of someone. Be kind, be sensitive and try to make it be about your parent and not about you.

It is worth noting that loved ones with memory loss may not be fully aware of their limitations and remain adamant about staying at home. Unfortunately, for their families, no amount of rational thinking or negotiation will get the elder to change their mind. Power of attorney or guardianship proceedings and some white lies may necessary to get a loved one to move to a new setting where their safety and wellbeing are guaranteed.

Dementia and Your Loved One: Are You in Denial?

Dementia and Your Loved One: Are You in Denial?

It’s normal to have difficulty accepting that your aging loved one may be experiencing early signs of dementia. Fear about the future is often described as “the underlying emotion of denial.” It’s human nature to reject what we find as unpleasant or frightening. But denying signs of aging and memory impairment can be dangerous to both caregivers and elderly loved ones. Understanding dangers of denial to you and your aging family member can help keep everyone safe and connected through the difficulties of dementia.

Dangers of Denial for Dementia Caregivers

  • Missed Opportunities

Watching an aging family member struggle with dementia is painful it can be like spending time with a stranger. A common reaction is to visit less often. It can be painful seeing what was a brilliant man being no longer able to hold a long, intelligent conversation and now has the communication skills of a young child. By being deep in denial and visiting a loved one less often, a person can easily miss out on creating special memories. Dementia may change the ways you connect with your aging loved one, but it doesn’t mean you can’t spend quality time with them.

  • Legal Complications

When a senior is deemed mentally incompetent, they can no longer execute legal documents. Without a power of attorney (POA), advance directives, and financial decisions in place, handling a senior’s medical treatment, long-term care, and end-of-life care is more complex. These decisions could fall to a family member who doesn’t know or share the senior’s best interests, rather than to the person of their choice. To eliminate legal complications from denial, suggest your aging relative create advance directives now.

  • Family Conflict

Denying cognitive decline can prevent you and your siblings from creating a successful dementia care plan. It can also irreparably damage family relationships. Denial on the part of a family member can cause family disputes. Adult children in denial don’t help out, and those who are aware, often take on multiple burdens. Quite often, those in denial believe their siblings are overreacting. And after an emergency or accident, the siblings who have been caregivers may blame others for not helping before the dementia became undeniable.

  • Financial Repercussions

Seniors are common targets for scams and financial fraud, and memory loss increases the likelihood of writing duplicate checks, overspending, or making other poor financial choices. Alternatively, dementia can cause seniors to ignore bills, fall behind on mortgage payments and face legal consequences for nonpayment. While many parents don’t want to share private financial information with their children, it’s crucial to discuss financial plans ahead of time so your family doesn’t fall under financial hardship.

  • Caregiver Health Consequences

Caregivers can put their own health at risk when they’re in denial about the help they need caring for a loved one. In fact, family caregivers older than 66 have 63% higher mortality rate than non-caregivers, according to a University of Pittsburgh study. It’s not uncommon to see a couple that has been married for 40-60 years and if one of the spouses goes downhill, the other doesn’t want the rest of the world to know. The caregiver gets sick, and person with dementia doesn’t have care.

If you’re caring full time for an aging relative, use the following guidelines to avoid caregiver burnout and health consequences.

Dementia Denial Dangers for Seniors

  • Falls and Accidents

Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries for people older than 60. Proper care and home modifications, such as installing night lights to reduce disorientation at night, can help keep seniors safe. But if you’re in denial about your parents’ declining health, precautions may no be made in time. Dementia behaviors, like forgetting to turn off the oven or garbage disposal, can lead to serious kitchen accidents.

  • Medication and Poor Nutrition

Medication overdose is common in seniors with dementia. Even if you marked pill dispensers, your loved one could be in danger, since people with cognitive impairment often become unaware of days of the week or passage of time.

  • Accidental Harm to Others

Without family intervention, seniors unaware of their dementia may continue dangerous daily tasks like driving. Driving with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia endangers pedestrians and other vehicles, and it can also cause significant property damage. In the home, a senior with dementia may become disoriented and injure a spouse or family member.

  • Elder Abuse

Unacknowledged dementia can leave seniors vulnerable to multiple types of elder abuse. An aging loved one may be susceptible to financial abuse, or they may be unable to report the details of physical or sexual abuse to the appropriate authorities. Dementia can also lead to elder abuse between spouses. A senior with advanced cognitive decline may experience significant behavioral changes that lead to violence. Alternatively, a caregiver unprepared to deal with dementia behaviors could resort to yelling or other emotional abuse.

  • Delaying Dementia Help

Often, a spouse is aware that their husband or wife has memory impairment, but they don’t want anyone else knowing about it, so they lovingly try to protect them from the outside world and begin to cut off family and friends. Sometimes in the beginning stages a spouse can handle the needed care, but as it snowballs, it will become overwhelming. Caring for a loved one at home is physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. It also puts the senior with dementia at increased risk.

Overcoming denial and caring for someone with dementia

Coming to terms with dementia is difficult but acknowledging what your loved one is going through can get them the right care and treatment for symptoms early on. Here are some tips to help you accept a dementia diagnosis and care for your aging family member.

  • Understand the signs and symptoms of dementia

Mild cognitive impairment can be easy to ignore if you don’t know the warning signs. Understand the seven stages of dementia, which can progress over time often, early cognitive decline goes undetected.

  • Keep a journal

When you begin to suspect dementia, keep a journal (or digital document or iPhone note) about signs and symptoms. Tracking dementia symptoms makes it more difficult to minimize the situation. Write down thoughts and fears to help you process the situation.

  • Learn about dementia

The Internet is full or resources to gain knowledge about dementia. One very good source of information is national Alzheimer’s Association. (

  • Seek support

Talk with friends, family, or a therapist. By finding others who’ve been through the same situation, you can learn from their experiences.

  • Ask for help

Remember that caregiver burnout is a real danger, and that it can hinder your ability to care for a relative with dementia. Senior daycare, part-time home care, and respite options can provide a break from caregiving.

Professional dementia care helps family caregivers and seniors

Acceptance is the first step. After understanding the risks of denial and determining that your aging loved one may be suffering from dementia, discuss potential solutions. Many people think they can provide all the care themselves. But the truth is, there is awareness, education, and medical knowledge that is needed. If your loved one is diagnosed with a heart problem and they need surgery, you wouldn’t take them home. Memory care needs to be approached in the same way.