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Frisco, TX, Feb. 13, 2017 – When concerns about forgetfulness or personality changes prompt people to seek medical advice, the hope is to learn the root cause is a reaction to medications that need to be changed, a fleeting condition or just a series of unfortunate coincidences. When the diagnosis comes back as dementia, shock is likely inevitable for the person living with the disease and his or her loved ones. There are steps people can take to help themselves and their loved one navigate the road ahead.

The first thing to do is learn more about the form of dementia, the loved one’s staging and possible interventions to slow progression or treat the condition. Dementia can take on several different forms that vary in their symptoms and prognosis. Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia and vascular dementia have symptoms in common, but are different in their causation and may have different treatments available.

Understanding that time is a precious and fleeting is the first step to laying the groundwork to be able to help the loved one. These tips may also help:

  • Gather resources – Assistance may not be required immediately after diagnosis, but the progressive nature of the condition means it likely will be down the road. The days and weeks after diagnosis present the perfect time for gathering information about resources for when they are needed. These resources include support groups, daycare facilities, respite care, assisted living and so on.
  • Help the loved one continue to live life to the fullest – Especially in the early stages, it is important to take advantage of every precious moment and help the loved one do the same. Encourage continued participation in activities the person enjoys. If the loved one gets joy from gardening, for example, help keep this activity available for as long as it’s safe and possible.
  • Tie up loose ends – While the loved one is still in the position to help, and even if this is not the case, begin gathering documents that will be important down the road. These include such things as certificates of birth, marriage or divorce; a will; health care directives; power of attorney; Social Security number and card; home deeds and/or mortgage papers; pension information; insurance information and so on.
  • Know it’s okay to grieve – Grief isn’t restricted to death. As dementia progresses, it is perfectly acceptable and expected for family and friends to deeply feel the loss of the person they once knew. Watching a loved one be slowly stripped of memories, personality and their abilities to do things they once did is painful. Caregivers need to care for themselves, as well. Grieving is a part of that.

A diagnosis of dementia is never easy to accept. There are ways friends and family can help their loved ones cope with and prepare for what is to come while helping them live life as fully as possible in the meantime.

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The Cottages have been operating in Texas since 1997 and are family owned and operated by The Cottages Senior Living. The Cottages are state-of-the-art certified assisted living residences for people living with Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders.