Undergoing cognitive decline is a difficult process for many people. This situation will usually mean loss of a certain level of independence. A person who may have been accustomed to handling things on their own, such as driving themselves to where they need to go, doing normal household chores, and taking care of others, may suddenly find themselves unable to do these things.
It's not easy to have to adjust when such changes are taking place. If this is happening to a parent, it is important that you step in to assist them in making the adjustment.
Be Understanding of their Situation
One of the things that makes it difficult for people in these circumstances to adjust is a lack of understanding from those around them. Even if you've become accustomed to your parent doing certain things, you should understand that they may no longer be able to do these things. You should also understand that they may not be so receptive to your assistance initially, because they are not used to being in this position.
Ensure Someone is There to Handle the Chores
Someone experiencing cognitive decline may find it hard to perform household chores, such as cleaning the house, cooking, etc. It's important to have someone around to assist with these jobs since your parent may also put themselves in considerable danger while attempting to do these tasks on their own.
Ensure the Financial Issues Are Taken Care Of
Financial responsibilities can be immense for someone experiencing cognitive decline. Bills and insurance payments can be forgotten, and even making a household budget could be an impossible task. If possible, you or some other trusted party should be given power of attorney over the finances. This will allow you to make financial decisions on behalf of your parent.
Ensure they Get the Medical Care They Need
Many people undergoing cognitive decline can be reluctant to receive medical care. In other situations, the person may forget about appointments with their doctors or counselor. Without proper medication, your parent's condition may worsen at a faster rate.
You should have a system in place that will ensure your parent gets the medical attention they need. There should be a way to remind them to take their medication and someone to take them to doctors' appointments. In home medical care is an option if you need someone to make house calls, administer medications, and check up on the physical well-being of your parent.
Make the Home a Bit Safer
Your loved one may not have the mobility or attention span they once had. This can make certain things, like fire risk, a bit more pronounced. If your parent is still cooking, they might forget they left the stove on, for instance. Even if a fire occurs from an external force, your loved one may not have the mobility to move quickly and get out of danger. Fire suppression systems will help make your senior safer staying in their home. Consider fire extinguishers, chemical fire suppression systems, and alarms that automatically alert the police. Other safety measures to take include installing an activity monitoring system, a button that a loved one can press to easily dial 911, and accessible pathways throughout the home.