Caring for a loved one with dementia may start small, but can grow to be a large responsibility as the disease progresses. When the individual with dementia is fortunate enough to have family nearby, the family will often step up to assist with daily activities as needed.
As we discussed in Part One, Dementia Defined, the progression of this disease can be gradual and before the helping family member realizes it, they may find themselves missing work, and sometimes even quitting their job altogether in order to give full-time care to the dementia patient. Obviously, the cost to the family includes the loss of income from this family member’s job.
The less recognizable cost to the family, however, is the emotional strain that is placed on the family member caretaker. In order to save money, many family members will work nearly twenty-four hours a day, seven days per week caring for their loved one. This may involve activities the caretaker may not be properly trained for. The ramifications are physical, mental and emotional strain which may result in health problems to the caretaker. The medical costs and possible future psychological costs to the caretaker, then, must be considered.
It is important that family members take a step back from the situation and assess these costs. The caretaker must have appropriate support in order to keep caring for their loved one. Providing a caretaker with time off every day, week and year is a must to ensure the caretaker’s health.
Your loved one needs your relationship just as much as they need a caretaker, and it can be difficult to play both roles. Planning ahead for the costs of care is a necessary step to ensure your loved one with a dementia diagnosis has the care and support they need. Contact us today to discuss planning that will benefit everyone.