How Do We Best Serve Those with Alzheimer's or Dementia?

Answers for Those Who Don't Know Where to Begin

Planning For Your Loved One With Alzheimer's or Dementia

Cognitive decline, including Alzheimer's and other dementias, requires in-depth care planning that include daily routines, establishing a Inter-disciplinary Care Team, (IDT) of family, friends, and/or professionals, pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions, and future planning for further development of the cognitive decline.

Alzheimer's and Dementia Management Goals

There are 5 Key Tenants to an Effective Care Plan that Focus on the Ultimate Goals of Care Management. As these declines are not curable, our focus must be to:

1) Maintain Quality of Life

2) Foster a Safe Environment

3) Maximize Function in Daily Activities

4) Improve Mood, Behavior and Cognition

5) Foster Social Engagement

Alzheimer's vs. Dementia 

Dementia is an blanket term used to describe symptoms that impact memory, performance of daily activities, and communication abilities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease gets worse with time and affects memory, language, and thought.

Dementia is a group of symptoms known as a syndrome. There is no definitive diagnosis attributed to Dementia as a label, but the symptoms are those that affect mental cognitive tasks such as reasoning and memory. 

Dementia can occur due to a variety of conditions, including infections, vascular disease, depression, chronic drug use, stroke, or the most common cause, Alzheimer’s Disease. Early signs are often overlooked such as occasional forgetfulness, losing track of time, or getting lost in familiar areas.

As the symptoms progress,  recalling names and faces becomes difficult, and hygeine often declines. Repetetive questions, poor decision making and declining hygiene are all signs of dementia. 

As treatment and care for persons with Dementia is similar to that of Alzheimer's Patients, and 50-70% of Dementia Cases are attributable to AD, this page will focus primarily on Alzheimer's, though the two are separate diagnoses. 

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Assessing the Stage of Cognitive Decline

A precursor to dementia care is a neurological assessment by a physician who will initiate tests in order to obtain a correct diagnosis. 

Some signs of normal aging may be miscontrued as signs of dementia. Testing is essential to ensure that the individual and the family are on the correct care path. 

Mild Alzheimer's Disease

In the first stage of the disease, loved ones may need help with basic planning such as the development of grocery lists and help to locate the items in the store. The names of familiar things and people will start to escape the elder individual, and there will be noticeable personality changes that loved ones will want to prepare themselves for. 

Moderate Alzheimer's Disease

At this stage of the disease, incontinence and basic self care become a problem. Organizing and planning become more difficult and connection to time and place begins to slip. People with Moderate AD often wander off and should not be left alone. Personality changes are often more extreme, with anger, frustration and paranoia being regular struggles for the individual and their caregivers. 

Severe Alzheimer's Disease 

This is the last state of Alzheimer's and along with the high level of daily care and assistance required for the individual, the family should be prepared for the passing of their loved one. This is the most difficult stage, as AD patients will often refuse to eat, may not be able to walk or sit up without help, and have very few lucid moments, if any. 

Care Planning Should Begin at the Earliest Signs of Cognitive Decline, but Aging Support Solutions can Help Your Family Navigate the Challenges of Every Stage of Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. 

Coping With Cognitive Decline

Coping strategies are an essential tool in the caregiver's toolbox. Aging Support Solutions helps families move forward, not just with proper planning, but with proper thinking and perspective as well. 

There are a number of challenges with cognitive decline, and it's important to be prepared for many changes. 

Some of the Most Common Challenges that Aging Support Solutions can guide you towards strategies do cope with:

Communication Challeges - How to remain patient with a confused, distracted, frustrated, or repetitive loved one. 

Personality Changes - With Alzheimer's brain cells are dying, and the mind can change in unexpected ways. Paranoia, anger, depression, aggression, a tendency to wander, and even strange sexual behaviors can all be difficult to cope with. 

How and When to Tell Family and Friends and Others - It can be difficult to help others understand what is happening to your loved one, or why the behave in a particular way. Whether speaking to small children, to the waiter at a restaurant, there are a number of effective strategies for informing others. 

Caring for loved ones with cognitive decline is more than schedules and doctors. It's learning how to cope with a variety of changes and challenges. 

Health, Legal and Financial Planning

Getting Paperwork In Order

There are a variety of legal/financial/medical documents that may need to be either created or updated at this time, including:

  • Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Health care
  • Living Will
  • Do No Recuscitate (DNR) form
  • Will
  • Living Trust
  • Establish "The Five Wishes"
    • The Person I Want to Make Care Decisions for Me When I Can't 
    • The Kind of Medical Treatment I Want or Don't Want
    • How Comfortable I Want to Be
    • How I Want People to Treat Me
    • What I Want My Loved Ones to Know

Money Monitoring and Scam Prevention

As cognitive decline progresses, your loved one may try to hide their financial problems in an attempt to maintain independence. It is important to work with them to be sure they are managing their affairs, and set a plan in place for when they no longer can. Aging Support Solutions can help guide you towards financial planning strategies for your loved ones. 

When your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer's or Dementia, it's necessary to get his or her health, legal and financial affairs in order and update paperwork to reflect your loved one's wishes.

How to Choose Help For Your Loved One With Alzheimer's or Dementia

Choosing the best care environment for your loved one can be stressful. We don't want to take away their independence too soon, but we don't want to take any of it away too late, either. Aging Support Solutions can help you decide where to start based on your unique situation in combination with the unique situation of your loved one.

This stage of the planning process is one of the most vital. We want to be sure that our loved ones are getting the best care possible, on a sustainable budget. 

Aging Support Solutions Can Help You Choose The Best 3rd Party Care Options for Individuals with Cognitive Decline:

There are a number of options and resources that can be used, often simultaneously or in tandem, including:

  • Home Health Care Services
  • Meal Services
  • Adult Day Care Services
  • Respite Services
  • Counseling Services
  • Support Groups
  • Assisted Living Centers
  • Group Homes
  • Nursing Homes 
  • Hospice Services


When your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer's or Dementia, it's necessary to get his or her health, legal and financial affairs in order and update paperwork to reflect your loved one's wishes.