senior man and caregiver looking at book

If you’re caring for an older family member, you’re fully aware of the array of feelings involved. On one hand, it’s a huge honor and incredibly worthwhile. Having said that, it is often challenging, draining, and demanding. Add to that the additional issues concerning cognitive decline, and it’s easy to see how family care providers can rapidly become overwhelmed.

Cognitive function can decrease slowly, or it could decline seemingly overnight, depending on the cause (Alzheimer’s or another version of dementia, traumatic brain injury, or Parkinson’s, just to name a few). Regardless of the cause of a person’s cognitive decline, there are actions family members can take to provide the best possible care.

  1. Note the person’s baseline behaviors and the particular changes you are seeing.
  2. Make arrangements for a thorough examination with the primary care physician for an accurate diagnosis and to eliminate other health conditions.
  3. Ask the physician for educational resources regarding the diagnosis to help you become fully informed as to what you may anticipate, and to share with other members of the family.
  4. Examine the person’s needs – both today and ongoing, as needs could evolve with time. Consider physical along with emotional concerns, such as their capacity to:
    • Take care of personal hygiene needs
    • Manage housekeeping, meals, laundry, along with other chores around the home
    • Keep up with social ties and stay involved in meaningful activities
    • Make it to medical visits, take care of grocery shopping, and other needs outside of the home
    • Stay safe: from wandering, falls, medication mismanagement, and more
  5. Establish a strategy to meet any needs identified.
  6. Evaluate finances and legal records to make certain someone has been selected as power of attorney so the person’s wishes will be followed and decisions made on their behalf when necessary.
  7. Find support – through a web-based or in-person support group for family care providers, and also for the specific diagnosis if at all possible.

The crucial thing to bear in mind is you’re not alone! Inspired Home Care, a trusted provider of elderly care in Barrington, IL and the surrounding areas, is always on hand to help, offering opportunities for you to step away from your caregiving responsibilities for your own needs and interests. Caring for yourself is crucial to properly taking care of somebody else. Arrange ongoing, regular time away for self-care such as:

  • Physical activity – at least 20 minutes of exercise 3 times a week, or per doctor’s suggestions
  • Healthy eating – skip the drive-through and quick, sugary, or salty snacks and opt for healthy alternatives
  • Sleep – something which is extremely challenging when looking after a person with cognitive decline, but vitally important
  • Medical and dental examinations – including looking after your mental health to avoid caregiver burnout and depression
  • Comforting, enjoyable activities – reading, a dinner date with a good friend, and whatever hobbies and interests brighten your day

Want to learn more about the benefits of home care for cognitive decline? Get in touch with Inspired Home Care at 847-787-7572 to explore our respite care services, provided by fully trained and experienced in-home care professionals. Request a complimentary consultation and let us help you ensure the best possible care for someone you love with cognitive decline – and, for yourself.