How A Dementia Care Plan Can Help You Care For A Loved One

A dementia diagnosis for a loved one is never an easy one. Caring for someone with this disease is not only time-consuming but stressful.

Reducing stress on the caregiver while providing the best care possible for the patient requires planning. An effective care plan for a dementia patient is a significant starting point.

What Is A Dementia Care Plan?

Eventually, all dementia patients require care 24 hours a day. While some patients live in homes that provide this care, others choose to remain in their homes. This is a personal choice made by the family and depends on what is best for the patient.

The care plan helps family members provide loved ones with proper monitoring and care to ensure safety. It's best to sit down and write out a plan while taking certain aspects of care into consideration, including:

  • Mobility
  • Eating patterns
  • Toilet use
  • Cognitive function
  • Behavior
  • Communication needs
  • Recreational needs
  • Appointments
  • Support for caregivers

This list helps the caregiver(s), assess the needs of the patient in the home. Examples of some questions to ask include:

  • Are ramps or other mobility items needed?
  • Who can drive the patient to appointments?
  • How will the patient communicate with caregivers?
  • Are adjustments needed for toileting?

Going through the list, family members take actions needed to provide the dementia patient with a safe environment to remain in while at home.

What Else Should Caregivers Consider?

Early on, caring for a dementia patient is often doable for family members; however, as the disease progresses, care becomes more difficult.

In later stages of the disease, patients often exhibit anger or other types of aggression. They also exhibit other worrisome habits, like wandering off and compulsive behaviors. These behaviors may require more care than family members can provide.

This is something to consider on the care plan: what to do if the care needed goes beyond what the family can provide. The rate of deterioration differs in each patient, but sometimes patients decline rapidly or suddenly.

What Other Options Are Available For Caregivers?

When or if the time comes when the patient can't stay in the home or the disease has progressed and family members can't provide care, there are options.

One is to hire a nurse to provide 24-hour care, and the other is to place the patient in a memory care facility. These plans should be part of the dementia care plan so that monetary resources or other needs are in place when needed.

A dementia diagnosis is often devastating, but with proper planning, families can provide the care needed to help loved ones remain safe and well cared for.