How do you make sure you are living a lifestyle that is supporting brain health? And what if you are caring for someone who is struggling with cognitive issues? The Fit Minds Cognitive Care Blueprint™ is the guide we have created to assist you in this effort.
We can help you create a plan that allows your loved one to be all they can be for as long as they can. Our Cognitive Care Blueprint™ will focus on helping you help them to exercise their brain and continue to engage with you.
The main goal will be to improve and maximize quality of life so that they maintain interest and keep their ability to communicate for as long as possible. Our Cognitive Care Blueprint™ gives you tools and resources to help you build and maintain your relationships – because while dementia changes relationships, it doesn’t end them.
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There are four essential elements to the Fit Minds Cognitive Care Blueprint™ and in this post I’m going to give you an overview of the first of those areas that you should be thinking about.
Are You Dealing With Dementia?
First it is important to identify the behaviours you are dealing with. Is it really dementia or is something else going on? This is a question that you have to take to your doctor but in order to go well-prepared to that appointment it is helpful to have a list of the behaviours that are troubling you.
A doctor’s appointment is a compressed amount of time. It can be stressful and it is easy to lose track of the issues we want to raise. Having your list is useful and can help your doctor give you the best solutions.
In preparing your list, here are some questions you might ask yourself: Are they:
- exhibiting uncharacteristic behaviour?
- more withdrawn, agitated, suspicious or anxious?
- showing poor judgement by keeping food well past its due date?
- wearing a parka in the middle of summer or a light t-shirt in winter weather?
- losing initiative to do things?
These behaviors could suggest you are dealing with dementia or they could be because of depression or a thyroid that is out of balance. A lack of proper nutrition or hydration can also lead to troubling behavior. So it is important to get a thorough physical.
You may be concerned because they forget appointments or important events. Or they are misplacing items in weird areas? Remember the behaviour has to be different. If they always forgot appointments or always stored their money in the fridge (a friend of mine used to do this. She reasoned – quite rightly – that if anyone broke into her apartment they would not find her cash in the cheese drawer) that is not as much of a concern as a new behaviour.
Do they fail to recognize familiar faces or places? This can be particularly frightening to an individual. It is one of the reasons why understanding what you are dealing with is so important.
It is common for individuals suffering from memory loss to try and compensate by reducing the activities they participate in. They stop going to events that they used to attend and the circle of people that they are interacting with dwindles. A spiraling effect can take place, where less human interaction leads to an increased rate of cognitive decline – which leads to less human interaction.
It is important to determine if you are dealing with dementia so appropriate steps can be taken. There are things that you can do to re-build your loved one’s self confidence so that they can continue to be all they can be for as long as possible.
If you are worried that you may be dealing with dementia, you have three options. And remember, can certainly do all three.
First, you can have a conversation with your loved one and/or your family members to start talking about what you see. This is often a very difficult conversation because of the emotions involved and because the roles are changing.
As the son or daughter, you may find yourself taking on a greater decision-making role in your mom’s or dad’s life. This can be a difficult transition. Not only are you dealing with the need for more care, there are the emotions associated with the changing roles. It is not uncommon for both of you to feel anxious, scared, and even angry. There is also the dynamic among siblings that can add to the pressure of these changes. So take time to prepare for this conversation. You can check out our blog post that about these issues and how to prepare. [click here]
Second, you can make an appointment with your family doctor to discuss the situation. Your family doctor will have a good idea of community resources. As well, we have some tools that you can use to prepare yourself for this conversation.
Whichever step you choose to take first, it is important to take action. Get your loved one the support they need.