Planning for the Future After a Dementia Diagnosis
When you’ve just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, you may feel anxious, depressed, or downright shocked. Coping with your diagnosis and creating a plan for the future can ease your worries and help you transition through the stages of dementia smoothly.
If you’re in the early stages of dementia, consider these tips from our experts on how to build a plan for the future, and start the journey through your diagnosis with self-assurance.
How to Talk to Friends and Family About Your Diagnosis
An honest approach is the best way to get the conversation about your diagnosis started with friends and family. Explain your diagnosis, its effects and share resources that make your loved ones feel more comfortable as your symptoms progress.
It’s also important to tell your friends and family how they can help. Explain that social interaction can help preserve your memories, abilities and skills. Encourage your loved ones to keep engaging in activities that are familiar to you, and keep in mind that some people may have trouble handling your diagnosis.
Telling your friends and family about your diagnosis can be difficult, but being honest and providing accurate information about dementia can help them understand your situation and prepare them for the future.
Create sound legal and financial plans
Early legal and financial planning is an essential step for those in the beginning stages of dementia. It allows you to be involved in the process before your diagnosis affects your decision-making abilities.
These are common documents to include in your financial plan after your dementia diagnosis:
- Living will
- Living trust
- Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
- Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
- Do Not Resuscitate Form (DNR)
- Last Will and Testament
Depending on the advancement of your symptoms, you or a loved one should review your financial plan every 3 to 5 years. If you’re interested in more details about financial planning after a dementia diagnosis, find a lawyer who specializes in finance advance directives for seniors in your area.
Plan for Future Memory Care
Most people who receive an early dementia diagnosis live at home. While your living situation doesn’t need to change immediately, you’ll still need plans for memory care in the future. This can come from in-home care or you can choose to transition to a retirement community with assisted living or memory care.
If you choose to live at home or with a loved one in their residence, areas like the bathroom and kitchen will eventually become hazards. This means you might need to make modifications to your house in order to live there safely.
You’ll also need to plan for home care services to help with chores, programs that provide socialization, food delivery services, and a medical alert system in case of an emergency.
Memory care communities offer dementia-friendly senior living spaces that are thoughtfully designed and provide 24-hour care for all stages of dementia. This means you won’t need to worry about potential hazards in your home, and you’ll have regular access to services and amenities that improve your mental health and physical well-being.
When you find a memory care community that’s uniquely suited to your needs, your family can gain peace of mind knowing you’re in expert hands and gain new resources to help you thrive throughout your dementia journey.
Build a care team
A care team is a group of loved ones and experts who will provide you with care, connection, and support as your symptoms advance.
An excellent and compassionate care team can reduce your feelings of being overwhelmed by your dementia diagnosis. They can also help you create a health care plan that will help you feel more confident about the future.
Your care team should include:
- An expert health care team of doctors, nurses, specialists and caretakers
- Your family and close friends
- A volunteer from your church, community organization or other social groups
Be specific when discussing your dementia diagnosis with your care team. State clearly what help you may need in the future, and only seek individuals who will offer compassionate, judgment-free help.
Live in the present
An early diagnosis doesn’t mean your life is over. You can still enjoy activities that bring you meaning and joy. Many people focus on building their legacy by passing on their skills and knowledge to their grandchildren or volunteering for a cause they care about.
Some seniors in the early stages of dementia build a strong sense of purpose by volunteering for an important cause or taking part in Alzheimer’s research. With the right support, you can still experience a full and happy life throughout the stages of your condition.
Don’t forget to give yourself credit
Receiving a diagnosis for Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia isn’t easy. It’s important to give yourself credit for making the effort to create a plan and anticipate issues before they arise.
Not only are you prepared for the future, but you’ve also gained strength to face your dementia diagnosis with more confidence — and that’s something to be proud of!
Turn to the compassionate professionals at The Ridge for expert memory care
Whether you need advice on how to care for a family member with Alzheimer’s disease, are seeking a dementia support group, or are searching for a senior living community with incredible memory care, The Ridge is here to help.
Our Utah communities in Holladay and Salt Lake City and our Colorado community in Denver all offer memory care in a safe, secure, homelike setting. We also feature several innovative programs to help provide a personalized and therapeutic environment for all residents.