As the top-rated elder care attorney in Chester County, PA, I have extensive experience with helping families who are challenged with a recent diagnosis of dementia with a loved one. It can seem unbearable for families and caregivers to cope with a recent diagnosis that a loved one is slowly losing their orientation or may not remember their family members. To handle the changes first learn about dementia and its various stages. Educate yourself so you understand the changes that are happening with your loved one. You will be better prepared to help your loved one if you are aware of what lies ahead.

Create a Safe Living Environment

Taking steps to minimize dangers that dementia sufferers encounter in the home is paramount. As a person with dementia loses awareness of their surroundings, they often overlook common safety precautions. It is imperative for caregivers to be vigilant about making sure that the physical environment is secure and that safety hazards are minimized.

Safety Precautions Include:

  • Make sure that your family member has adequate supervision based on the disease progression.
  • Limit access to the oven, stove and other sources of flame.
  • Remove sharp objects, such as knives and scissors, from accessible areas.
  • Install chimes so you know when a door is being opened.
  • Be certain that your family member has no access to vehicles.
  • Consider installing inexpensive monitors to follow the movements of their loved one suffering from dementia.

Behavioral Challenges

Have compassion and be understanding when supporting your loved one. People with dementia are often defensive or aggressive when reminded of their loss of memory. Caregivers and family members need to be mindful that their loved one is not able to control the changes that are taking place. It may be helpful to keep a journal available for friends and family to keep a record of their visits. This will serve as a conversation piece about who visited earlier in the day or yesterday. Remember that one person’s symptoms can vary considerably from another person’s symptoms.

Prepare for the Future

Early planning allows your loved one with dementia to be involved in making decisions about his or her future care. This allows your loved one to have peace of mind that his or her wishes will be followed.

When it comes to home care, personal care, adult day care, assisted living, skilled and intermediate nursing care, dementia care and continuing care retirement communities most people do not understand all the forms of care and how they interconnect. Determining which type of care is appropriate for your loved one is complicated by facilities and home care providers providing different types of care and often overlapping levels of care. Some accept Medicare, some accept Medicaid, and some accept neither or both. An experienced elder care attorney can ensure the best care for you or your loved one while providing maximum ability to preserve financial resources.

Explore important documents that every family should have in place: Wills, Powers of Attorney, Healthcare Directives, and Trusts. If you would like to have Slutsky Elder Law assist with getting your affairs in order or to create a plan call 610-940-0650 today to set up a consultation.

Family and Caregiver Support

Family members and caregivers have a myriad of questions as they navigate the healthcare maze for their loved one. Take time for yourself so you do not experience caregiver burnout. There are home care and home health care professionals who can offer wonderful support in your home to offer the family or caregiver a break. You are not alone, and it is beneficial to talk to others who have had similar challenges. Be an advocate for your loved one and empower yourself with knowledge to do so.

For a comprehensive listing of agencies, assisted living communities, and skilled nursing communities that offer memory care, check out our Chester County PA Elder Law Directory and Senior Guide online at For our Delaware County PA Elder Law Directory and Senior Guide online go to To find our Montgomery County PA Elder Law Directory and Senior Guide online go to

There are local support groups that are offered through hospitals and churches. Search online and ask friends and family about support groups.

The Alzheimer’s Association provides exceptional resources for family members trying to cope with or learn more about the various stages of the disease and types.

Check out Teepa Snow’s website at Teepa is a world-renowned occupational therapist with forty years of clinical practice experience. Teepa is one of the world’s leading educators on dementia and the care that accompanies it. Her website is a great starting point for helping you better understand the disease and ideas for ways to address your loved one’s evolving needs.

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