To hear a doctor say you have Alzheimer’s is frightening. Your dad needs your support from day one. Understandably, he’ll worry and not know what to do first. Take these three steps to make sure he has the support he needs after the diagnosis.
Never Argue With Him
Never argue with your dad. You know he’s already told you something, but he insists he hasn’t ever told you that. Don’t let it turn into an argument.
If you argue with him, he’ll become defensive. Deep down, he may question if he’s right. It scares him, so he’ll instead insist he’s right. He may not even remember something and honestly believe he is correct. Instead of disagreeing or arguing with him, agree and move on.
Talk to a Lawyer
You want to make arrangements for powers of attorney permissions and advance directives ASAP. Your dad needs to be seen as being capable of making decisions for himself. If you wait, you risk having to have someone named as your dad’s guardian if there are medical or financial decisions to make on his behalf.
Your dad should also discuss a will with his lawyer. With a will, all assets are divided according to his wishes and not left up to the courts to decide what happens.
Help With Daily Activities of Living
The early stages won’t affect your dad too much. He’ll still be able to get dressed and showered independently. He’ll still be mobile and know who people are. He may not be able to drive. That’s often one of the first recommendations from memory care doctors.
As your dad enters the mid-stages, he’s going to forget who some people are and to take his medications. He may leave the house for a walk and not recognize the area. Cooking a meal at this stage is risky as many forget something is cooking and walk away. If that starts a fire, it’s dangerous.
In the late stages, your dad may fly into a rage without warning. Or, he may become quiet and child-like. Decreasing muscle strength and changing motor skills make it hard for him to go to the bathroom and shower without help. It makes it difficult to get out of bed without assistance. Finally, he may need help cutting and eating foods.
As the disease progresses, there will come the point where he needs several hours of companionship services and senior care each day. If your family cannot spend as much time with him as he needs, it’s crucial to arrange caregivers to fill in those gaps. Call a senior care agency to discuss Alzheimer’s services.