What to do after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

What to do after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

Whether receiving a diagnosis for yourself or a loved one, it is a very difficult time, so much information to take in and lots of changes on the horizon. It can be overwhelming.

Depending on where you are on your journey when the diagnosis takes place, may depend on the amount of information you already have and what is available.

Here we set out a simple list of steps that should be taken upon diagnosis to help you set off on the right path…

Knowledge is Power

You may have had experience with Alzheimer’s or Dementia before, or this may well be your first encounter, either way there may be symptoms that you are not aware of or have not experienced before.

The more you can learn the better. The phrase “forewarned is forearmed” comes to mind. The more we know, the better we can prepare.

There is a lot of support around online, groups, professionals, carers, families and individuals that have also been diagnosed all navigating a similar journey. Linking up with these groups and support can be beneficial mentally and emotionally.

Allow yourself to feel

As we have said, receiving a diagnosis for yourself or a loved one, is a very difficult time, so much information to take in and lots of changes on the horizon. Allowing yourself to go through the emotions you are feeling is okay.

You are not superhuman or a robot and taking time to acknowledge and process those emotions is invaluable.

There is no ‘correct path’ of emotions to take and so feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, disappointment and disbelief are all natural feelings.

Getting into a Routine

Getting organised and into a routine can really help, not only in terms of getting into good habits but to help set out early where everyone is, what should be done when and to know what is expected when. This is vital as the Alzheimer’s or Dementia progresses as routine and structure will be a necessity.

Alzheimer’s affects memory and so having a structured routine can help keep track of medication, appointments, activities and day-to-day tasks.

Routine can help to reduce stress, anxiety and frustration and increase independence and feelings of security.

Ensure your LEGAL and FINANCIAL affairs are in order

Managing your financial and legal affairs is impossible once capacity is lost. 

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or Dementia does not automatically mean that capacity is lost and so arranging the correct legal authorities are in place, whilst you have capacity to do so is vital.

You may consider reviewing your Will but also putting Lasting Powers of Attorney in place so that the person that you choose, and trust, has the authority to deal with your matters (financial, property, health and welfare) when you are no longer able to do so.  

We are always happy to have a free chat with you about this – CLICK HERE

Look at what CAN be done

Once a diagnosis is received is very easy to see this as a disabling disease that will only get worse and therefore discount capabilities, activities and all those things that were much loved prior to the diagnosis.

THIS DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THE CASE!

It is so important to consider what can still be achieved, the preferences, opinions and desires of the person living with Alzheimer’s.

A diagnosis doesn’t always mean that a person is incapable and they won’t necessarily lose their desire to carry out those activities that they used to love. Being able to carry this on for as long as is safe can be great for independence, self-esteem not to mention physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.

Consider a Care Plan

It is inevitable that as the Alzheimer’s or Dementia progresses the need for care will increase, as will appointments with an array of professionals.

There may be a range of people helping with care, loved ones, family, friends and professionals, and a care plan can assist with setting out who is responsible for what, what is expected and when this is expected.

Having a plan for now, as well as having discussions about what may be needed as the condition progresses, and how this could be catered for can save a lot of stress in the future.

Diagnosis is NOT the End

It is natural to feel that there is no light at the end of the tunnel or struggle to see what there is to be grateful for when receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or Dementia as the road ahead can seem somewhat bleak and overwhelming however, this doesn’t have to be the case.

Taking into account point 5 above and looking at what can be done means that it is not the end…fun can still be had, knowledge can still be gained and relationships can still develop. 

Yes, things will be different but that does not mean it has to be worse.

You are NOT alone

Remember, whether you are the one that has been diagnosed, a loved one or caregiver…you are NOT alone.

There are lots of support groups out there, those that you can attend locally and National support groups that you can access online.

We have a list of upcoming events that maybe local to you on our website HERE.

There are no stupid questions and so we should not be afraid to ask for help or assistance.

Everyone’s journey is different, neither right nor wrong. We all have different experiences and can learn something new.

 

Do you have an experience you would like to share?

Or, is there a topic you would like us to write about?

Get in touch – Info@DementiaTLC.co.uk

Decluttering to Create an Organised Home for Independent Living

Decluttering to Create an Organised Home for Independent Living

The home of someone living with dementia may have become cluttered because of a change in habit i.e. they prefer to keep their possessions where they can see them rather than store them away and risk not being able to find them or because they have lost the ability to look after their living space.

I wanted to share my experience of working with families in the early stages of dementia to create a safe living environment for longer independent living

 

Difficulties of Living in A Cluttered Environment

Living in a cluttered environment can make day to day living more difficult and confusing for someone with dementia.

It may cause: 

  1. Increased anxiety and stress from not being able to find what they need
  2. Increased confusion as useless things become mixed up with important items
  3. Increased risk of tripping as it becomes more difficult to differentiate one object from another
  4. Increased hygiene risk as it’s more difficult to clean a cluttered space
  5. Increased fire risk making emergency access more difficult

 

The Importance Of An Uncluttered and Simplified Home

Creating an uncluttered and simplified home can help to increase the chances of someone living with dementia to maintain independence for longer, in a safe environment. They can continue to perform daily tasks and avoid situations which may cause confusion.

In early dementia it is common for an individual to mislay items around the home and become upset about not finding the things that they need.

I have worked closely with my clients’ adult children or carers to create a new simplified living environment. This can be a stressful and emotional time for everyone. I have found that it works better if the changes can be made in the early stages when they are more likely to understand the need for it. At this stage they can be involved with the decision-making process of where to keep key items and making decisions on which items are important to keep and those that they no longer need.

 

Blissfully Organised’s Top Tips to Create an Uncluttered and Safe Living Space

ACTION PLAN 

Create a decluttering and organisation action plan for each room. The objective is to create a safe and comfortable living space. Understand the items that are important to them and their daily routine – medicines, keys, toiletries, clothing and kitchen essentials (their favourite mug etc). Once you know which items are essential you can start to eliminate unnecessary items. Simplifying the number of items will make it easier to find what they need, i.e. in the kitchen you can reduce the number of cups, plates, cutlery, glasses to the minimum required. In the bathroom you can simplify the items to have one of each, i.e. shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrush, soap, hairbrush etc.

A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING 

Designate fixed locations for everything in the home, i.e. medicines, glasses, keys etc. 

Agree where key items should be stored in each room.

FREQUENTLY USED ITEMS 

Keep frequently used items in view i.e. utensils in the kitchen or toiletries in the bathroom.

ALWAYS COMMUNICATE 

Never simply move things without communicating its new home. This can cause a great deal of stress.

LABELLING CAN HELP 

You can label drawers or use photos so they can more easily find what they need in cupboards without having to have everything in view.

UNWANTED ITEMS 

My clients are often reluctant to let things go because they feel that it may be useful one day or is wasteful to throw it away. 

I find it’s very important to reassure a client that the things that they no longer need will be recycled to a valuable new home.

If you need further advice or support on decluttering and organising the living space of a relative in the early stages of dementia please do not hesitate to contact me. 

I would love to support you.

Tracy Ross

Professional Organiser

Blissfully Organised

tracy@blissfullyorganised.co.uk

Tel: 07818 423 376

www.blissfullyorganised.co.uk

What are your thoughts?

Do you have an experience you would like to share?

Or, is there a topic you would like us to write about?

Get in touch – Info@DementiaTLC.co.uk