Creating a Plan for Loved Ones with Memory Loss: Online Caregiver Course Module 6
By creating a plan for loved ones with memory loss family caregivers can respond positively to changes and plan for increasing care needs and costs associated with a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. If it’s time to get serious about creating a plan for elderly parents or a spouse diagnosed with memory loss, this online caregiver program offers a step-by-step plan.
Module 6 in this eight-module program for family caregivers focuses on memory loss.
In this online caregiver program, caregiving expert Pamela D Wilson shares a step-by-step plan to prepare today for what may be years of caring for a loved one with memory loss.
Research articles supporting this module are linked below in the text to make it easy for you to gain the knowledge you need about creating a plan for loved ones with memory loss
Learn More About the Other Seven Modules of Pamela’s Online Caregiver Education Program
Module Six: Care for Loved Ones With Memory Loss
Each section below links to the caregiver webinar videos for creating a plan for loved ones with memory loss on Pamela’s YouTube Channel.
By working through this online caregiver education program to create a plan for elderly parents, family caregivers can:
- Identify signs of memory loss
- Understand how mid-life health affects cognition and memory in later life
- Initiate conversations about memory loss within the family
- Realize the importance of short and long-term care planning
- Adopt new approaches to respond positively to the changes that occur in loved ones diagnosed with memory loss
- Learn how to respond to care refusals, aggressive or repetitive behaviors
- Understand the importance of legal and financial planning
Click on the links below in PINK to watch the webinar videos and to view the slides that correspond to each part of the program.
Section 1: Memory Loss: Early Indications, Progressions & Recognizing the Signs
Common questions from caregivers include:
- How do you help a loved one with memory loss?
- How do you make a schedule for someone with dementia?
- What do you say to someone who has memory loss?
- How do you learn about dementia?
- What is a dementia care plan?
- What is the right way to respond to agitation or repetitive behaviors?
- How do I care for a loved one with memory loss when I am exhausted?
- What if there is not enough money to pay for care?
- What if I can’t continue to be the caregiver?
Answers to all of these questions are here in Module 6 as well as other important information that persons with memory loss and their family caregivers must know.
Family caregivers can learn how middle-age health affects memory loss later in life. Identify health conditions that contribute to memory loss 10 to 20 years before a diagnosis and gain insights into signs that indicate memory problems before a diagnosis.
Additionally, if elderly parents have memory gain an understanding of the conditions that contribute to ongoing health concerns that will require care so that caregivers can create a plan for the future.
Does mild cognitive impairment lead to dementia or Alzheimers in elderly parents? Research confirms a link between MCI and memory loss.
Are you noticing forgetfulness in an elderly parent? Is mom or dad starting to slow down physically? Both may be signs of early memory loss that can lead to a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
In this caregiver program, family caregivers can learn how to identify mild cognitive impairment to initiate conversations about memory screening with aging parents, spouses, and loved ones.
What are the signs that an elderly parent has dementia? Many early signs go unnoticed until a major accident happens. Physicians and family members can view forgetfulness as something that happens with age when it may be a more serious diagnosis.
In this part of the program, caregivers can learn to differentiate between normal forgetfulness and memory loss and when it’s time to see the doctor for a diagnosis. Caregiving expert, Pamela D Wilson shares 16 signs of memory loss and why elderly parents may have difficulty accepting a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Section 2: Memory Loss Steps to Being Proactive
Being proactive about confirming a diagnosis of memory loss is not a step that everyone is prepared to take. But when procrastination that results from fear takes over, opportunities can be lost to make plans to prevent worrisome events.
When family members gain a better understanding of a specific memory loss diagnosis, better plans can be made to care for aging loved ones. These family discussions are important in moving forward to creating legal plans to support caregiver advocacy, care, and treatment for loved ones.
Why is getting memory loss diagnosed important for elderly parents? If you are a family caregiver worried about forgetfulness in a parent, changes in memory or daily abilities might indicate that a serious medical condition exists.
In this caregiver program, learn the importance of seeing a diagnosis to confirm dementia, Alzheimer’s, or another medical condition. Learn about the different types of memory screening tools and the benefit of annual memory assessments.
Caregivers will also learn about the consequences of a “too late” diagnosis.
Dementia is a broad term describing a number of specific diagnoses related to memory loss. In this caregiver program, family caregivers can learn the differences between Alzheimer’s, vascular and other dementia types.
Understanding a loved one’s diagnosis can help caregivers gain a better understanding of the types of assistance that will be needed as memory loss progresses. Having this information can allow the person diagnosed to share their wishes about future care and treatment.
How to plan for dementia and legal issues is an important topic for families. In this caregiver program, Pamela D Wilson who served as a court-appointed guardian and agent under the power of attorney explains the importance of ensuring legal protection for elderly parents and loved ones with dementia.
Creating an estate plan consisting of power of attorney documents, a living will, and a will or a trust can protect a person diagnosed with dementia from undue influence or potential abuse by family members.
Just in case you or your elderly parent are hesitant to move forward with estate planning I want to share a true story called Eat Cookies. To watch a 17-minute video sharing the story of David Drummond click on this link and scroll to the middle of this page to watch a heartfelt explanation of why being able to make choices about the care you want and putting the information in writing is vitally important.
Advocacy tips for dementia caregivers are critical to ensuring elderly parents receive care from the healthcare system that is not always sensitive to the needs of older adults. In this caregiver program, family caregivers can learn the steps to advocate for the needs of loved ones.
Becoming comfortable asking questions of medical providers is essential for making sure that elderly parents with dementia receive the care they need. Being an advocate requires becoming familiar with an elderly parent’s diagnosis and medications so that you can make good decisions.
Section 3: Memory Loss: Healthcare Bias, Costs, and Planning
In this section focusing on creating a plan for loved ones with dementia, family caregivers will be able to:
- Identify steps to become a confident advocate for the care of elderly parents
- Learn how to converse with medical providers to get the information you need
- Relate the care needs of parents to situations that require advocacy
- Recognize how physical, social, and cognitive activities support healthy aging
Tips for dementia caregivers to recognize bias and burnout are essential. Caregiver interactions with medical providers determine the type, level, and treatment that elderly parents with memory loss receive.
When caregivers experience burnout they may not be as attentive to the needs of loved ones with dementia. Additionally, caregiver exhaustion can contribute to a lack of or substandard medical care due to a lack of advocacy efforts with healthcare providers.
Doctors and other medical providers unfamiliar with dementia may give poor advice to family members. In other situations, bias may exist by a physician to deny treatment to parents with dementia because of a sense of medical futility.
Finding the right doctor who is compassionate and who has a thorough understanding of memory loss is critical to getting the right care for loved ones with dementia.
Schulz, Richard Ph.D. et al. Magnitude and Biases Among Family Caregivers Rating Alzheimer’s Disease Patients. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2013 January; 21(2):. doi:10:1016:/j.jagp.2012.10.002.
What does ethical care and treatment for elderly parents with memory loss mean? There are many questions to be asked.
- What are family caregivers willing to do to make sure parents receive care?
- What do the elderly diagnosed with memory loss want for their care?
- Do family caregivers sacrifice too much to care for loved ones?
- Can a spouse unduly influence another spouse to pursue treatments they don’t want?
- Can feelings of guilt or worry about losing a loved one lead to extensive or unnecessary treatments to life?
In this caregiver program, family caregivers can learn how beliefs, habits, and culture may affect wishes for treatment for loved ones diagnosed with memory loss. Accepting that dementia or Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that leads to death with no cure can be difficult for family members.
For this reason, seeking education and support is extremely important for everyone in the family.
Making medical decisions for parents with dementia can be gut-wrenching. In this caregiver program, learn how caregivers can advocate with medical professionals who may disagree with the wishes of elderly parents and how to evaluate the pros and cons of complicated medical decisions.
Evidence and practical experience confirm that caring for elderly parents with dementia is complicated and challenging. When injuries occur, complications become more apparent and serious for you as the caregiver who must make an effort to become more educated and to ask the right questions of medical providers.
Alzheimer’s Association. “2018 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures,” Alzheimer’s Dement 2018. 14(3) 367-429. P 19.
Toussant E M and M. Kohia. A Critical Review of Literature Regarding the Effectiveness of Physical Therapy Management of Hip Fracture in Elderly Persons. J. Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2005 Oct;60(10) 1285-91.
Rolland, Y. et. al. Predictors of Decline in Walking Ability in Community-Dwelling Alzheimer’s Disease Patients: Results From the 4-Years Prospective REAL.FR Study. Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy 2013, 5:52.
Menzies, et. al. Prevention and Clinical Management of Outcomes of Hip Fractures Geriatric Orthopaedic Surgery & Rehabilitation 1(2) 63-72. Doi: 10.01177/2151458510389465 http//:gos.sagepub.com
Part 4: How to Manage the Emotional and Financial Costs of Caregiving (35:52)
This may be one of the most important parts of Module 6 because it deals with balancing the needs of adult children who are trying to work, have careers, raise their families, and care for elderly parents with dementia. The trade-offs and decisions to be made are complicated.
Learning how to manage the emotional and financial costs of caregiving can be challenging for family caregivers. Caregivers with careers and families burn the candle at both ends trying to care for parents with dementia. But what happens when parents need more care and there isn’t enough money?
In this caregiver program, learn how to identify costs of care, develop a plan for care services, and steps to take before a parent’s financial resources run out. By knowing the types of assistance needed including the costs you creating a plan for loved ones with dementia is easier to complete.
Section 4: Memory Loss Behaviors: Predicting Agitation and Responding Positively
Becoming dependent on family and friends for care when a memory loss diagnosis occurs can be frightening. In this section, family caregivers can learn why the behaviors of dementia are frustrating and how to respond positively. Additionally, gain insights into why it may be in the best interest of the caregiver and the care receiver for a loved one to be placed in a care community.
Part 1: Why Parents With Memory Loss Become Emotionally Insecure (20:05)
Caregivers ask why parents with memory loss become insecure. Memory and behavior changes related to a diagnosis of dementia significantly affect the ability of elderly parents to live independently.
Imagine waking up every day with no recall of where you are or what you did yesterday. In this caregiver program, family caregivers will gain sensitivity for parents who transition from independence to total reliance on family for their well-being as memory loss progresses.
Part 2: Why Do Elderly Parents With Dementia Become Agitated? (24:22)
Why do elderly parents with dementia become agitated? The behaviors of frustrated family caregivers are sometimes the source of agitation and upsetting behaviors in loved ones diagnosed with memory loss.
In this caregiver program, learn why hospital emergency rooms are not the best place to take agitated parents with dementia. Hospital emergency room staff are generally untrained and unprepared to manage the behavioral symptoms of dementia.
Instead, in this program caregivers can learn actions to create an environment to reduce behavioral incidents and occurrences of agitation.
Part 3: Why Elderly Parents With Dementia Seem Crazy (20:29)
Caregivers ask, why elderly parents with dementia seem crazy. Memory loss has many effects on the brain and the senses. Gain insights into what is important when interacting with elderly parents diagnosed with memory loss so you can focus on the big things instead of minor issues.
In this caregiver program, learn how to recognize and respond to annoying or distressing behaviors. Build a toolbox of positive responses to a variety of unusual behaviors by elderly parents.
This resource from the Alzheimer’s Association is one of the best documents you fill find regarding causes for behaviors in persons with memory loss. The document provides recommendations for responses from dementia caregivers.
The Neuropsychiatric Symptoms of Dementia
Interested in more tips to care for elderly loved ones? Keep moving forward and check out all of the other modules in this caregiving program.
If You Found This Module Helpful, Learn More About the Other 7 Modules
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