What do I do now?
Dementia usually steps into people’s lives in a subtle way. Typically, a family member will hear someone comment that their Mom seems to be forgetting things. Then Mom leaves the stove on or asks you to come over to help with the phone when it’s really the remote. You start to worry. You take Mom to her regular doctor’s appointment. Mom doesn’t seem like herself and the doctor is concerned. The doctor recommends that Mom see a neurologist. Then you get the call that Mom has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. You go to Mom and tell her that everything will be alright. You hold back tears because you need to be strong for her right now. You may feel like screaming, “Somebody help me!” So many questions race through your mind; What is Alzheimer’s? Will Mom be safe in her house? Do I need to start looking for an assisted living facility? What type of paperwork should I start gathering? Will my family help me? Will Mom get worse?
The first priority is to make sure Mom knows she is loved and will be safe. The second priority is to get organized and to build a game plan. Compile notes about Mom’s medical condition and find out if there are any legal or financial issues pending. Start to gather contact numbers, insurance information, account numbers and other important details. Gather any existing advanced directives, doctor information and paperwork specific to Mom’s care.
There are several worksheets near the back of this book, including an organizational “worksheet” that can be used to create your own personal binder.
This organizational “worksheet” is meant to help you navigate through the responsibilities you now must undertake. Please print or copy the worksheets and follow along.
Family Duties - Gather family and friends for a meeting to determine which roles each person will take in helping with Mom’s care. Meet in person, by phone or by video chat. Discuss your goals, air feelings and ...