Creating Your Loved Ones Dementia Care Plan
If you’re acting as an in-home caregiver for a loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia, it’s vital to create a care plan. Acting as a caregiver can be an exhausting and overwhelming experience, but planning ahead will make it easier to take the breaks you need.
Without breaks, you can develop physical, emotional, and mental issues that compromise your ability to care for yourself or someone else. A dementia care plan will ensure you and your family are on the same page about your loved one’s memory care.
It will also help you communicate more openly and manage expectations about your in-home care options. Here is a guide for creating your loved one’s dementia care plan.
The Purpose of a Dementia Care Plan
Dementia care plans help you plan each day caring for a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia. It can assist respite care providers, other family members, and in-home care aides who don’t have as much experience with the day-to-day needs of your loved one.
The dementia care plan should provide vital information about your loved one’s likes and dislikes, cognitive abilities, fears, level of care, medication, and strengths and weaknesses.
This plan will be a primary form of support as you care for your loved one, allowing you to keep track of and monitor their progress while helping you anticipate issues that might arise in the future.
The Dementia Care Plan Process
When creating a dementia care plan, you should involve your loved one in the process as much as possible. Don’t make it a stressful or challenging experience; instead, try to keep it casual so it doesn’t feel like an interview or interrogation.
Walk through each topic and write down as much information as possible. You can go back and organize it further as needed. The care plan is meant to be a flexible, adaptable document, so you should plan on changing it as your loved one’s needs and demands change.
The care plan will address vital details of your loved one’s life and past, communication, mobility, toileting, eating patterns, orientation and cognition, psychosocial and behavioral patterns, caregiver support needs, and recreational activities.
Each area should have a detailed description with relevant facts and examples, needs and problems, strengths and weaknesses, and goals and outcomes.
It should also touch on planned interventions and services. This way, any in-home care aide or caregiver can read the plan and know exactly what is needed and what is expected of them.
Topics Addressed in Memory Care Plans
You can use a binder, folder, or computer file to maintain your loved one’s dementia care plan. In general, we recommend that you have more than one hard copy printed out and tabbed and labeled for anyone’s reference when they enter the home to provide care.
You can also keep a hard copy on the computer to make edits as needed. The care plan should include:
- Biography – This should be a basic background of your loved one, including biographical information.
- Diagnosis – Your loved one’s official medical diagnosis or diagnoses, including the date of diagnosis and the doctor who diagnosed him or her.
- Health History – This should include your loved one’s medical history, care needs, and current condition.
- Medication Schedule – Provide information about which medications your loved one takes, what they treat, when they are taken, what the dosages are, and who administers them.
- Physical Exercise – Discuss exercise or physical activities your loved one enjoys. Do they have a history of playing sports or exercising? Does any type of exercise cause agitation or confusion?
- Eating Patterns & Schedule – What are your loved one’s nutritional needs? Do they have favorite and least favorite food items? You should also review the timing of meals and where your loved one prefers to eat.
- Personal Care – Offer information about the personal care tasks your loved one needs assistance with and which they can handle on their own. Personal care includes dressing, bathing, personal hygiene, and toileting.
- Communication – Discuss any challenges your loved one has with speech or language, and any accommodations that work or help them overcome these challenges.
- Mobility – Provide information on your loved one’s mobility needs or skills, including how they get around, any challenges they might face, and how easily they can get out of bed, dress, go up or down stairs, or complete fine motor skills.
- Cognitive Ability – Outline your loved one’s ability to reason, plan, problem solve, comprehend, and learn from experience.
- Personality – Offer details on your loved one’s personality. What are their positive and negative traits, strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, biggest accomplishment, greatest dream, and fears or anxieties.
- Family, Friends, & Community – Go over who has regular contact with your loved one.
- Safety – Discuss any safety concerns or past issues.
- Spirituality – Offer information on your loved one’s spiritual or religious preferences and practices.
- Highest & Lowest Functioning – Outline the times of day where your loved one has the highest and lowest cognitive functioning.
- Activities – Discuss any activities your loved one enjoys. Do they do anything to help their cognitive ability, like crosswords, memory games, reading, painting, or watching documentaries? What activities work and don’t work? Do they prefer a set schedule, or are they more flexible?
- Pets – Include relevant information about pets in the home, and those that might visit while an in-home care aide or caregiver is present. Include the pets’ breeds, ages, names, owner information, personality, care needs, and how your loved one interacts with them.
Collaborating With Family & Loved Ones
Having a dementia care plan on hand will make it easier to collaborate with family about your loved one’s care. It will be easier to communicate, and you can keep track of your loved one’s progressions, medical care, and highs and lows.
Your dementia care plan will manage risk and protect your loved one from health and safety issues, as well as ensure everyone is on the same page about his or her care.
Taking Time for Yourself
Creating a dementia care plan will make it easier for you to make time for yourself. A care plan will streamline the process of handing over care duties to another family member, caregiver, in-home care aide, or respite care provider.
You will have peace of mind knowing that your loved one has everything they need to thrive in the hands of another caregiver. It’s crucial for caregivers to step away from their duties at times.
This gives them time to relax, refresh, focus on self-care, and avoid burnout. You can reduce your risk of physical, mental, and emotional strain.
Learn More About Alzheimer’s Care & Dementia Care in Tucson, AZ
If you’re ready to learn more about Alzheimer’s care and dementia care services in Tucson, AZ, contact us at Placita In Home Care. We specialize in compassionate, skilled in-home memory care services for patients at all stages of dementia.
We offer socialization and community activities, toileting and personal care assistance, transportation to and from medical appointments, and light housekeeping and meal preparation. Call us today or fill out our contact form online to learn more.