Chinks in the Armor: Mom’s Not the Same
You’re noticing changes in Mom, and you can't dismiss them any longer. Her memory is often slipping, but it's tough to face a new reality. Mom has long been the strong family guardian, an unflappable leader. She always takes care of everyone. Now roles may be reversing, and she needs a reliable helper to navigate daily life safely.
Examples of mental decline and dementia may include:
- Regularly losing items like keys or cellphone
- Getting lost while driving in the neighborhood
- Wandering outside due to confusion
- Losing visual and spatial judgment
These dangerous scenarios put your elderly loved one in a vulnerable position. Her safety is at risk. When Mom faces these situations, it’s dangerous for her to be alone. When this inevitably happens, quality home care service can offer dedicated assistance.
Home Care Supports Sandwich Generation
As the person playing the role of family caregiver, you’ve been devoted to helping Mom, but you must have a care plan before Mom’s mental faculties decline any further. It’s also unrealistic to expect full-time devotion to her when you’re juggling work and your own home.
Plan for Mom’s care to protect your emotional and financial reserves. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, “Sixty-seven percent of family caregivers report conflicts between caregiving and employment, resulting in reduced work hours or unpaid leave.” Like many households, you cannot afford to miss or leave work when the family relies on your income.
Your role in the sandwich generation naturally leads to more stress. “Family caregivers of people with dementia are more likely to develop mental health problems such as major depression and anxiety disorders,” according to Alzheimer’s Disease International . “Female caregivers report overall higher levels of burden, stress and depressive symptoms than male caregivers…”
Caregiving is a difficult undertaking, especially for a parent exhibiting early symptoms of dementia . A frustrating situation can rapidly lead to burnout. Instead, consider a home care provider that offers dementia care or Alzheimer’s care on a routine basis. An experienced caregiver will provide a range of services like preparing meals, running errands and monitoring Mom’s health. Her dependable care, which allows her to remain in her home, can be a solid foundation during a turbulent period of change.
Dementia is Challenging to Pinpoint
A new case of dementia develops every 3.2 seconds around the globe, but most of the elderly endure the illness without proper medical attention.
“Research shows that most people currently living with dementia have not received a formal diagnosis. In high-income countries, only 20-50 percent of dementia cases are recognized and documented in primary care. If these statistics are extrapolated to a global scale, it suggests that approximately three-quarters of people with dementia have not received a diagnosis, and therefore do not have access to treatment, care and organized support that getting a formal diagnosis can provide.”
Prepare for Mom’s Resistance
Get proactive. Suggest Mom seeks a full-medical evaluation for dementia and Alzheimer’s. In the meantime, be prepared for Mom to object.
"For women who develop dementia, it can be difficult for themselves and others to accept the change in their role and identity. The shift from being the main caregiver within the family to the one now needing care is a profound one that is often resisted," according to the ADI study, Women and Dementia.
Mom may endure a period of strong denial. She may dismiss a discussion about possible dementia as a sign of weakness, but this is the time to rally your family and extended loved ones. A family’s consensus can be pivotal when discussing options or your aging mother. With persistent and casual conversations, she may become more open to the idea.
Also, if Mom can take an active role in selecting her caregiver, she may experience a more significant measure of autonomy. A good provider will always look for a personality match, and Mom can be an excellent barometer. A successful match will encourage Mom not only to live safely, but also be more interactive during the hours with the home care provider.
Effective Assistance for Mom
Mom may not notice, but others will if she starts to show signs of self-neglect. Grooming and dressing habits can rapidly become chores because of Mom’s waning mental faculties. A professional caregiver will help keep Mom comfortable and presentable. This new relationship can have a significant impact on Mom. Emotional and social needs are critical during this challenging time. The social interaction will help keep Mom engaged and more alert.
Once the home care service begins, you can expect care to be tailored to Mom’s evolving needs. As these needs progress, the list of services may expand or change. An experienced caregiver can detect initial warning signs of health problems and promptly report them.
Things are changing, and change may become the only constant. She’s not the same head-of-house you remember. And she's going to need help. And you may not be prepared to assume this enormous responsibility.
As Mom's needs evolve, protecting her from dangerous pitfalls around the home will become increasingly important. Click here to learn more about effective fall prevention.