773 E. Haverford Road • Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Schedule a Visit!

Schedule your visit today and
download our brochure.

For Alzheimer’s Caregivers: Preparing for Unexpected Changes

Crystal Yost, Program Director of Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr, says, “Taking care of an elderly loved one can be a very challenging responsibility. Many caregivers report that they find their roles both physically and emotionally draining. Aside from the stresses of their ongoing daily tasks, at-home caregivers say they also worry about sudden, unexpected events occurring. Rapid changes in a loved one’s health or serious injuries resulting from accidents such as falls can change your whole life in an instant.”

“This is especially true for your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease of other form of dementia.” 

“Things can change quickly and, if you are not prepared for potential life-changing events ahead of time, they can create major emotional upheaval, eliminate your free time and greatly disrupt your personal life and career. The best advice is that you should always be prepared. Fortunately, there are helpful steps you can take that will ease your concerns and provide you with some much needed peace of mind.”

Planning Ahead Benefits You and Your Loved One

Noted columnist and eldercare consultant, Carol Bradley Bursack, provides important insights into the challenges of caregivers and how planning ahead is vital to that role. In her article,Elder Care Needs Can Change in an Instant, she says, “One of the most exhausting parts of being a caregiver, from my point of view, is that there's always the threat of an emergency that we are responsible to handle.”

“We are literally on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even if our elders don't live in our own household. Of course, anyone can have a life-changing emergency. However, when we are caregivers to vulnerable people who are completely dependent upon us, and who likely have health problems to begin with, we are much more apt to face an emergency that can change current plans for anything from a few hours to the rest of our elders' lives.”

A Checklist to Prepare for Your Loved One’s Changing Needs

Having a specific plan already in place can help you to cope with the variety of unforeseen events that can occur “out of the blue.” Ms. Bursack suggests the following “to do” list to help you prepare for potential challenges ahead:

  • Establish Power of Attorney – Work with your loved one to make sure that you – as the primary caregiver – have the Power Of Attorney for their health care, which is often called their “advanced directives.” Be sure that their doctor and their hospital have a copy of this document. With it, you can make the decisions necessary to continue caring for them if they cannot speak for themselves.
  • Develop a Plan for Future Care – Plan ahead with your loved one about their preferences in case a life-changing emergency should occur. Never promise not to "put them in a nursing home." Just tell them that you want to know their preferences for care under different scenarios and that you will make the best decisions for their health and safety, based on the circumstances at the time.
  • Arrange for a Personal Emergency System – If your loved one lives on their own, even if there are two of them, provide for a personal alarm – or some type of monitoring system – so that they can summon help if they are not able to use the phone.
  • Create a List of Vital Information – Help them make a list of important information in case of an emergency. The list should include emergency phone numbers, medications, allergies, and known illnesses. Keep this in a visible location, such as on the refrigerator, for emergency personnel to locate easily.
  • Keep Their Insurance Information Handy – Keep copies of their Medicare and other insurance cards in their wallets, but keep the originals with you. In this way, you can do the paperwork in the emergency room while medical personnel are assisting them.
  • Identify a Backup Caregiver – Have a dependable replacement in mind that can help with your loved one if you become unavailable for any reason. This will benefit both you and your loved one. With your backup person’s support, you might even be able to take a few well-deserved days off from the stress of being constantly on call.

Preparing in advance for unforeseen events is important to you and the loved one for whom you are caring. By taking the time to plan ahead, you can reduce the disruptions to your own life and assure your loved one receives care that is consistent with their wishes when changes occur in their health status.

We Would Love to Hear from You!

If you have comments or questions on our blog, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences. Please share your stories in the comments section.

Engaging Days. Meaningful Moments.

Loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or other memory impairments require specialized care and support. They also deserve a lifestyle rich in dignity and fulfillment. Our brand-new Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr community provides residents with Engaging Days and Meaningful Moments that emphasize individual abilities, encourage socialization and promote the highest level of independence possible. We offer a complete continuum of leading-edge programs, services and amenities that address the total physical, emotional and social needs of residents in a caring setting that offers individual suites with large private baths and the comforts of home. Our community touches hearts and changes lives.

Helping Families Be “Family,” Again

Memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or another form of memory impairment doesn’t only affect the person who has it – it affects the entire family.

If you have a loved one with early- to mid-stage memory loss, you know how challenging it can be to provide the care that’s needed while trying to maintain balance in your life. As care needs increase, you may not be able to meet them physically or emotionally. It’s often difficult to be available to care for your loved one’s health and well-being around the clock.

If, and when, the time comes to seek additional help, place your trust in Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr. We lift the stresses and worries of being a caregiver from your shoulders, enabling you and your family to enjoy time with your loved one again. For more information, please call Sharon at (484) 380-5404, or contact us online.

Disclaimer: This information should not be construed as Impressions at Bryn Mawr Terrace or Main Line Senior Care Alliance offering legal advice. For legal advice, please consult your attorney.