Dementia, life changes, and major events: One size does NOT fit all.
I am often asked questions such as:
- Should we move Mom into Assisted Living?
- Should we tell her that her husband died?
- Is it OK if Grandpa comes to my wedding?
- Should I take my dad home for the holiday?
- Is it OK to take him/her on vacation?
The answer is always “It depends.” This is also the least popular answer for the questions I am asked and I’m sorry. I wish that the answer was as simple as googling an answer or calling a helpline, but it isn’t.
Because people with Dementia are just that, PEOPLE. They have individual personalities, circumstances, social circles, and symptoms.
Obviously, I receive a lot more than just this. If anyone tells you that they have the answer to these questions, without collecting any additional information, they’re lying. I am here to help you understand how professionals come to the answers that you are seeking. Here is what I consider before giving an answer:
- How does the individual adjust to change?
- What is the current level of awareness for the individual with dementia?
- What type of dementia and what symptoms does the person have?
- What is the goal for the family?
- What resources are available to support the family and the person with dementia?
- What is the time commitment required?
- Is there an option for an “exit plan” or a Plan B?
- What is the level of awareness of the disease and symptoms for the family?
- How will having the person with dementia at the event, or making the change, impact the family: socially, financially, psychologically?
A person with dementia can successfully attend social events, grasp the concept of death, and thrive on a vacation. On the contrary, these events can be disastrous for others with dementia.
So when you are considering any of these events, I highly suggest consulting with a professional. Whether that be a dementia consultant, like Trovato Dementia Services, the care team at an Assisted Living Community, a medical professional who knows your family and the person with dementia (doctor, nursing staff, etc.). Online forums can be helpful to gain experience from others who encountered the same question, and the successes or failures they experienced. Consider the same factors that I considered when making your decision.