6.1 Early-Stage Dementia

Most people are still able to function on their own in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Thus, doctors usually blame old age for the symptoms involved. Such a patient may continue to drive, engage in social activities, volunteer work, and even hold a job. As a care partner, you must offer support, company, and assistance with future planning.

Since the person with early-stage dementia is primarily independent with dressing, bathing, and walking and may still drive, volunteer, or work, one of the biggest issues care partners experience is not knowing how much support to give or when to give it. It’s possible that managing a daily routine or home budget is one of the most challenging tasks.

As a care partner, your assistance with these routine duties might aid the dementia patient in discovering new coping mechanisms that will help to maximize independence. Finding a healthy balance between dependence and independence will depend on your
relationship and may boost your confidence as a caregiver.

Additionally, it is normal for a caregiver to experience various emotions, from dread to hope. Thoughts about the effects this diagnosis will have on your life and the knowledge of upcoming difficulties may cause emotions to surface. Discussing these feelings could make it easier for you to overcome the challenging emotions and spend more time
appreciating the present.

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