March is International Listening Awareness Month and just because your father has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s doesn’t mean you know what’s best for him. It also doesn’t mean that he gives up his rights to certain things in life.
He has various inalienable rights.
As the disease progresses it will steal more and more memory and mental function and capacity from your father, but before that happens he still has the right to determine the course of his life. He also has the right to determine what level of care and support he receives.
For example, he might still want to play golf or visit with friends. He may have lost his license to drive recently, but there are other opportunities and likely numerous options available to him to get the opportunity to pursue some of those activities. You might feel it’s safer for him to simply remain home, but what does that say about your willingness or ability to listen?
Memory loss is going to impact his daily life.
It may have already started. It’s usually memory loss that indicates something could be wrong and encourages seniors to visit their doctor for proper diagnosis. Since your father has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he may exhibit confusion at times. He may not remember conversations he had the previous day.
He may exhibit behaviors that causes you some type of concern about his safety and well-being. Still, he has the right to determine the course of his life. At some point in time he may no longer be cogent and lucid enough to make rational decisions about his safety and well-being, but if it’s relatively early in the diagnosis, he should still have that right.
Now, as far as listening is concerned...
How much do you know about Alzheimer’s? Do you understand how the disease will progress? Do you know the various signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s? Do you know the things your father still enjoys doing and, if you do, is he capable of doing them safely, even if that means having some support on hand?
If you’re not quite sure what he is interested in or would like to do, you might not be listening to what he says. Now is the time to sit down and talk about these things with him. Talk about the present and the future. Talk about the challenges he will face. Talk about the things he still wants to do. And, while you’re talking, always remember to listen.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Southport, CT, or the surrounding areas, please contact SYNERGY HomeCare of Fairfield, CT at 203-923-8866.