When a parent or loved one is diagnosed with dementia there’s a thousand questions that come to mind. How do I tell the rest of the family? Can mum still take herself shopping or to lunch with the girls? Can Dad still drive? Can my parent stay in his or her own home? Should I tell their friends? What about the future?
If you yourself have been diagnosed the questions are probably even more personal and potentially endless at an emotional time.
Ultimately the key to finding answers on living with dementia is to seek advice early. Get straight on to it. Sit down with your GP and find out what services and dementia support networks exist in your local area. Ask about the things that matter to you. It might be a counseling service you need, access to a support and/or carers group or in-home assistance. Don’t be shy.
Organisations such as Alzheimer’s Australia and Dementia Care Australia have websites with extensive information about all aspects of the many forms of dementia so get online and take advantage of the resources they offer. Alzheimer’s Australia also has a National Dementia Hotline if you’d prefer to pick up the phone.
And of course if you haven’t already, you should register with My Aged Care, a Federal Government initiative that acts as a central information point for seniors and carers wanting to access aged care services and support.
Seeking help early, sharing experiences and planning ahead are some of the best ways to help yourself, your parent or loved one stay engaged and connected to life in a positive and active way. It benefits them and it will benefit you.