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Preserving Dignity & Autonomy for Seniors with Dementia

If you care for a loved one with dementia, it can be difficult to watch him or her struggle with tasks that used to come easily. Perhaps your parent or relative can no longer maintain an independent household, pay bills or prepare meals. Even if this is the case, it’s critical to help your loved one maintain a sense of dignity and autonomy.

As a trusted Toronto dementia care provider, Home Care Assistance strongly believes that even when independent living is no longer possible, seniors still have the right to make independent decisions. While it’s important to protect your loved one from harm, it’s also important to remember that a diagnosis of dementia does not in and of itself render a person incapable of making decisions.

It’s also important to keep in mind that even if your loved one is incapable of making certain decisions, such as those about financial matters, that doesn’t mean that all decisions should be limited. Take the time to ask your loved one about where they would like to live both now and as the disease progresses and what type of medical treatment they would like to have. This can not only help them enjoy some sense of control over the situation, you can have peace of mind knowing what their exact wishes are should they be unable to express them in the future.

Preventing your loved one from making decisions can often do more harm than good. In fact, it can cause feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness, as well as depression. In most cases, you should help your family member make independent decisions whenever possible, provided that safety is not an issue. Some families find it helpful to appoint a guardian who facilitates specific tasks like paying bills, allowing the person with dementia to maintain independence in other areas of living where possible.

If you feel that you are not equipped to support your loved one’s independence through each stage of dementia, that’s okay as well. There are many reliable support services in Toronto such as Home Care Assistance whose goal is to provide seniors with the assistance needed, while promoting independence, dignity and comfort. The best part? Services are available on an as-needed basis so that seniors can enjoy Toronto part-time care, or overnight or live-in care as needs become more complex.

While there may come a time when your family member is no longer competent–a decision that is made in conjunction with medical professionals–dementia alone does not indicate incompetence. As a caregiver, your responsibility is to help your loved one understand the ramifications of medical treatments, choice of living arrangements, and other decisions so that he or she can maintain a sense of dignity and autonomy while having the needed support to stay safe and healthy.

For more information about how to help seniors with dementia age in place with comfort and dignity, call Home Care Assistance of Toronto at 416-488-8777 and schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a friendly and experienced Care Manager.