Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that affects around 5.8 million Americans. One out of 10 people age 65 or older has Alzheimer’s. It’s estimated that just about every minute, another man or woman develops the disease.
The odds of having a parent with Alzheimer’s disease is increasing. If you’re in that spot, you may not have a clue where to begin. You’re already thinking about the care your parent needs now and will need months or years from now.
One of the biggest dilemmas is a parent who wants to age at home but has Alzheimer’s. Is it possible for your mom or dad to remain in the family home as the mental capacities worsen? It is, but it takes planning.
Where Do You Start?
As soon as possible after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, get legal affairs in order. Your mom or dad need to get a will drafted. Powers of attorney, both medical and financial, need to be named. Any living will or advance directive instructions need to be clarified.
That all has to be done while the cognitive skills are still okay. If your mom or dad waits, an attorney may not be able to complete the paperwork for reasons that your parent is not “of sound mind.”
Line up appointments with an area memory care clinic. A family doctor can help find the right person. You will want someone who specializes in Alzheimer’s there to monitor your mom or dad’s progression and walk you through what to expect in the next weeks and months.
Prepare the Home
Once the legal aspects and medical professionals are arranged, you need to focus on the home. Over time, there are things in the home that can become very risky.
If your mom or dad have a gas fireplace, stove, or heating system that has a pilot light, you need to make sure there are precautions in place. If your parent puts out the pilot light, will the flow of gas stop? You may not think it would be possible for your parent to extinguish a pilot light, but it can happen.
Make sure there are door and window alarms to alert caregivers if your parent tries to leave the house. An alarm on a door isn’t enough. Your parent may try to escape through a window in an effort to “go home.” You’ll get used to hearing your parent begging to go home. It happens even if your parent is already home.
Arrange Daily Care
A parent with Alzheimer’s can stay at home, but you do need to arrange care. In the middle to late stages, your parent shouldn’t be left alone. Caregivers can handle that care or assist you in providing Alzheimer’s care to a parent in need. Call an agency to learn more about caregivers and pricing.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering a Caregiver in Chaney, WA please contact the caring staff at Angel Senior Care today at (509) 326-4357.