At the start of the holiday season I wrote an article suggesting that holiday gatherings are useful times to evaluate possible changes in the health and safety of an aging parent or relative.
If you have assessed that there has been a change in cognitive functioning, the question is: What’s the next step?
-Don’t panic and come across as a disciplinarian insisting upon immediate change;
-Be mindful that no one likes to feel like they are being managed or that they are losing their independence;
-Instead, share what you have observed and be prepared to have a number of discussions with mutual input about making adjustments.
The next step is to arrange for a comprehensive medical check up with an internist preferably a geriatrician*. It is important to determine the underlying cause of the cognitive decline. Some conditions are reversible*. It is recommended that someone attend the appointment to be a support and to understand the doctor’s evaluation and recommendation. If the doctor confirms that there is cognitive impairment, then it is important to recognize that there will be a need for someone, usually a designated family member, to take the reins when decisions have to be made.
It’s common for the individual to deny that there is a need to make changes and it’s not often easy to assume the reversal of roles becoming the caregiver. If you would benefit from tips and strategies to succeed in addressing these challenges contact me at:
Vivian Green Korner, MA, Certified Dementia Practitioner, is a dementia care specialist in private practice. She works with families who need guidance, direction and help with decisions that they need to make when caring for an individual with dementia. Vivian’s goal is to support families with practical advice, solutions to deal with the many challenges and help families to find the best match to programs, services and professionals.
Viviangreenkorner.com | 201.960.4277