Now that your mom’s been diagnosed with a form of dementia, it’s a good time to sit down and talk to her memory care doctor. There are things you need to know about what to expect now and weeks, months, and even years down the road. Here are five questions family caregivers must ask.
What Treatment Plan Does the Doctor Recommend?
Depending on the form of dementia, your mom’s doctor may start her on prescription medications. These medications help slow the progression of dementia. Mental exercises may also be recommended. Changes to the diet are another path many doctors recommend, especially diets that low in saturated fat and sugar.
How Long Does it Take Before You Know if the Treatment Plan is Working?
Medications won’t offer a cure. They can help slow down the progression, but it can take weeks before you see changes. This depends on the treatment plan. Talk to your mom’s doctor about the plan of action and when you might see her memory loss start to stabilize.
Are There Any Side Effects Worth Noting?
Medications used to treat dementia often have troubling side effects. For example, some lead to nausea and a lack of appetite. Others cause headaches, dizziness, and confusion. If depression medications are prescribed, dizziness, loss of appetite, headaches, nausea, and sleepiness are all possible side effects.
What Should Family Caregivers be Watching for at Home?
As dementia progresses, many things start changing. You may notice your mom startin to take naps in the afternoon and stays up late at night. She may become easily confused and snap at people who try to tell her that she’s already done or said something. Medication side effects should also be monitored.
How Much Care Does Mom Need?
In the early stages of dementia, it’s probably going to be very hard for her to remember things that happened recently. She’ll likely ask the same questions over and over and become confused if you tell her you’ve already told her that. A gentle reminder is the better approach here.
As the disease progresses, she may forget when she last took a shower. You may find her feeding the pets repeatedly. Eventually, she may get easily confused as to where she is or how she got there.
As Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia cause the decline in abilities, don’t think you need to handle everything on your own. Home care providers offer you respite and help you relax and unwind while knowing your mom is getting the care and supervision you want her to have.