Although most people who are diagnosed with dementia are over the age of 65, it is also possible to find out that you have this condition at a much earlier age. After a younger-onset dementia diagnosis, it is normal to feel emotions ranging from relief that you have an answer for your symptoms to shock that it happens so young.
Unfortunately, there is not currently a cure for dementia, but there are ways that you can manage your care through the progressive stages of the condition. Use this guide to help you and your family develop a long-term care plan that puts the control over your future back into your hands.
Identify the Underlying Cause
Younger-onset dementia involves a collection of symptoms that can occur on their own or have an underlying cause. For instance, your dementia may begin after a stroke, or you could be in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
Talk to your medical team to understand more about the underlying reason for your early-onset dementia. This allows you to understand more about how your dementia may progress. For example, a person with Alzheimer’s may have more behavioral changes to plan for than someone who’s Parkinson’s impacts their physical abilities.
Understand What Happens During Each Stage
Dementia is different for everyone, but there are defined stages that range from mild to severe. Learn about each stage so that you have a stronger understanding of what types of care may be needed during each one.
If your dementia is diagnosed in the mildest stage, then you may only require some assistance to help you remember important things such as when to take your medication. As dementia advances to the final stage, you may need around the clock dementia care to help you stay safe.
Consider Other Health Factors
As you look at options for long-term dementia care, keep other health factors in mind that affect your physical and mental wellbeing. For example, Parkinson’s disease symptoms such as limb rigidity or tremors could require you to need assistance with meal preparation as you continue to live independently.
Discuss the Options as a Family
Your family and friends will be your strongest sources of support as your dementia progresses. Take the time now to identify potential family caregivers who can help you at home, and discuss certain situations that may pose challenges with your care.
For instance, your family may prefer for you to have a professional caregiver help with tasks involving personal hygiene, or you may need help with transportation to and from medical appointments as cognitive changes make it no longer safe to drive.
Develop a Relationship With Caregivers
It is always best to begin building a rapport with your caregiving team early in the first stages of dementia when your memory and reasoning are strong. Start by having a caregiver help you with a few parts of your daily routine such as providing medication management so that you can benefit from establishing a relationship.
Revisit the Plan as New Needs Arise
Remember to stay flexible with your long-term care plan because your needs may change over the years. Arrange to meet with your family and your caregiving team after any new diagnosis or change in your abilities to come up with a solution that helps you continue to maintain your wellbeing.
At Caring Inc, we provide care through every stage of dementia, and our caregivers are experienced in working with younger adults who are recently diagnosed. Contact us today to begin working on a long-term care plan that helps you feel hopeful about the future.