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How Can I Evaluate Dementia in My Parent?

When you are facing the decision to place your parent in a nursing home or another facility to live because of dementia, you should know the needs of your parent. You may have a general idea of what dementia is, but you should know that dementia does not progress in the same way for everyone who suffers from it. 

By properly evaluating the condition of your parent, you may have a better understanding of what kind of facility is ideal for your loved one. Matching your parent with the wrong living facility might cause problems down the road if the staff provides improper care or neglects your parent’s needs. 

Dementia is not a linear condition

It is true that dementia may grow progressively worse, but according to Aging Care, unlike other disorders, dementia is highly individualized according to person. While dementia may include hallucinations, wandering and various physical problems, these issues do not occur in the same order if they do happen at all. Also, a mental decline may seemingly reverse itself for hours or even days when a patient suddenly acts more like his or her old self. 

Lucidity may be stronger than usual

Many dementia patients receive a cognitive assessment to determine their level of lucidity. However, in many instances seniors display unusually strong moments of lucidity that make it seem like nothing is wrong. This may make it hard for you to know what your parent truly needs in terms of care. To figure out a senior’s needs, families may go through multiple assessments from professionals to determine how well a senior can complete activities of daily living. 

Narrowing your options

You may have to go through a long process to assess your parent’s cognitive abilities, but the effort is worth it if you can narrow down which living options best suit your parent. You do not want to find out your parent may be prone to wandering before placing your loved one in a facility that does not track the movements of its residents. 

Properly assessing your parent’s needs also helps you to develop questions to ask different care facilities. You can ask how they take care of dementia patients, their levels of care for declining patients, their safety protocols for dementia patients, just to name a few examples. You may also ask if the facility has the proper license and credentials. These and other questions may help you feel better about placing your parent in a home and reduce the risk of neglect or abuse. 

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