As your father continues to deal with the earliest effects of Alzheimer’s, including the diagnosis that can be overwhelming to accept, you might be taking steps to help your mother prepare for the future. There are many changes that will likely begin occurring around their house.
The more proactive your mother is and the more you both include your father in the discussion about future care options, the easier it’s going to be for everyone. Don’t mistake this for making some kind of claim that supporting a loved one with Alzheimer’s could possibly be easy; it won’t.
However, the more planning you do early on, the more it’s going to benefit your father in those years ahead, as the disease progresses and moves through various stages.
First, offer your mother accurate information.
The Internet is a bastion of information, but not all of it is accurate or worth exploring. Look for reliable information about Alzheimer’s, how it will progress, and some of the best options for long-term care.
Sit down and talk about this with your mother, listen to her questions and concerns, and make sure she understands as clearly as you do how things will likely change in the months and years ahead.
Second, talk to her about support.
She might be more than willing to take care of your father on her own, feeling that’s her responsibility, but at some point in time it’s going to wear her down and she will need help. You might be willing to step up and assist, but the stress and anxiety of this job can take its toll on you as well.
The best option to discuss as early as possible is hiring home care support services through an agency.
Third, be honest.
Be honest about your expectations, observations, your mother’s ability to properly care for him, and what may happen as the months turn into years. You also need to be honest with your own limitations so you can look to the right options in the future.
Lastly, encourage her to keep up with whatever interests her.
This could be spending time with her friends, doing puzzles, going for walks, playing games, and many other things. Over time, she will likely give up some of her interests because of limited time, energy, and strength.
Once you discuss some of these things with her and you come to a consensus, then it’s time to talk it over with your father when he is lucid so he can help make the right decisions about his future.