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Dementia Care Planning – Is It Necessary?

Is dementia care necessary for someone who is showing signs of mild cognitive impairment? Does your family have a history of dementia-like symptoms? Do you think frequent episodes of memory loss indicate a need for dementia care planning? Recognizing the differences between signs of normal aging (memory loss) and dementia or Alzheimer’s can help you make decisions for your future.

What Does Normal Aging Mean?
Experts in the field of geriatrics indicate that outdated perceptions of exactly what “normal aging” means compared to dementia are being challenged. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) describes milder measurable cognitive changes – for example when the person takes longer to complete the tasks of daily living but is managing without help overall. In some people, MCI is caused by a disease, such as Alzheimer’s. Opinions of health care professionals change almost daily.

Typically, normal aging is healthy aging, a combination of factors – an active, engaged mind, a strong social life, good nutrition, for example – as opposed to the more serious condition of dementia. Memory problems can be reversed in some cases. Dementia, on the other hand, is more progressive, although dementia symptoms can sometimes be helped with medications and therapy.

Dementia affects a person’s cognitive abilities, resulting in the progressive decline of someone’s memory, attention and language. It is usually caused by Alzheimer’s (although that is not always the case). Read More

When an elderly person can no longer take care for himself or herself due to progressive memory loss, whether the diagnosis is dementia or just advanced signs of aging, it is a good time to look at your dementia care options. It may be that finding a home health caregiver will serve your needs, or in some cases moving to a skilled nursing facility that provides dementia care will be the proper choice.

When you have reached the point of realization that the situation needs to change, it helps to sit down with family members or caregiving professionals to discuss a plan for long-term dementia care when or if it becomes necessary.

One of the first steps should be to make an appointment with a medical professional, specifically one who is skilled at working with adults who have memory problems. He or she will be able to diagnose if the changes you are experiencing (i.e. in managing money, medication schedules, use of technology devices, repeating oneself, or forgetting the time or place) indicate signs of dementia, mild cognitive impairment or cognitive aging.

Many primary physicians will administer the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA), which is a series of 30 questions assessing memory, attention, language and abstraction. The test is not used to diagnose a specific disease but is used as a screening tool. Based upon your score the physician may refer you for further evaluation which includes ruling out other conditions, interviewing family and friends, brain imaging (MRI and/or PET scans, and Neuropsychological tests).

Once you have received a diagnosis, it is imperative to start planning for dementia care as soon as possible, while you still retain cognitive abilities.

Home Care Assistance is a provider of dementia care in Overland Park, Kansas. We understand what you are experiencing. We offer quality care in an innovative, creative, compassionate and committed way in order to provide optimal care. For more information about our flexible hourly or live-in dementia care plans or to schedule a free in-home consultation, contact us at 913-663-5000 and speak with a Care Manager. To learn more about Dementia Care at Home Care Assistance, visit us online.