Dementia Checklist: Preparing for What Lies Ahead

It’s hard to know how much time you’ll have to prepare for the future if you or a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia. Disease progression can vary greatly from one person to the next. So for your peace of mind (or for the sake of a loved one who will be caring for you) there are some things that need to be discussed in advance. Here’s a checklist to help make sure you’re covered:

Determine what resources are available. Living with Alzheimer’s or being an Alzheimer’s caregiver is tough, so you’ll want to take advantage of the Kansas City Alzheimer’s resources that are available. Educational resources are particularly important; they can prepare you for meeting new challenges head on.

Evaluate lifestyle. Be aware of what you (or your loved one with dementia) do on a day-to-day basis. If you own a computer, make a list of passwords for future reference. Consider what else you might need to do that will help as the disease progresses.

Develop routines. It’s important for people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia to have daily routines. A consistent routine will help with focus, decrease anxiety, and allow for some sense of independence. Create a family calendar and enlist volunteers to help with appointments.

Store all relevant care information in one place. Get a notebook to store all important information about your dementia care. Include all medical and legal contacts, family contact information, test results, a current medication list, a weekly appointment calendar, and anything else for which you might need easy access. This will also help as you make the transition to home care or long-term care.

Encourage healthy living. As you’re establishing a daily routine, make sure you include activities that encourage healthy living and eat healthy meals. If you don’t already have an exercise routine, consider enlisting family members for a 30-minute walk around your Kansas City neighborhood after dinner each night. If you live alone and don’t have relatives nearby, you might want to purchase a treadmill instead. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy.

Deal with financial and legal issues. You’ll want to make sure you (or your loved one with dementia) develop a living will and designate a healthcare power of attorney before the disease becomes too advanced. You’ll also want to designate a financial power of attorney and put alerts on credit cards to curb overspending.

Know where to go for help. While you’re still able, develop a plan for the future. Choose a Kansas City home care agency that specializes in Alzheimer’s and dementia care to help with bathing and grooming, meal preparation, light housekeeping, and cognitive exercises. If your plan is to eventually transition to long-term care, you’ll also want to tour facilities with experience in dementia and Alzheimer’s care.

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