Receiving a new diagnosis for your senior can be a difficult time for everyone. Depending on the diagnosis, it can mean preparing for treatment, undergoing extensive medical treatments or even having to prepare mentally for death. There’s no easy path forward when faced with a diagnosis, but this change can be managed in a few different ways.
Acknowledge the diagnosis
Most people are familiar with the Five Stages of Grief (Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Depression and Acceptance), and depending on the diagnosis, your senior may go through some or all of these stages while coming to terms with their diagnosis. Short-term therapy can be a beneficial and objective outlet for both your senior and family members affected by it. Additionally, writing down thoughts in a journal can help everyone adjust to the new reality and find the best way to move forward.
Find a support group
Elderly care often focuses on the senior completely. A support group for caregivers affected by a diagnosis can give you like-minded people to speak with who are experiencing similar illnesses in their own families. Simply being able to talk with other families who understand what is happening can be immensely beneficial.
Additionally, support groups for people with the same diagnosis as your senior can help your senior feel seen and part of a larger group. Group members may also have recommendations for managing the disease in a way that reduces stress and impact.
Anticipate where help is needed
Sometimes a diagnosis causes people to reach out and want to connect with others. In other cases, the afflicted withdraw and want to be left alone. As a caregiver, it’s important to strike a balance between providing care and allowing enough space for your senior to process the diagnosis and next steps. Sometimes simply making time to be present with your senior post-diagnosis can help them begin to imagine what will be required.
Learn about the diagnosis – carefully
Post-diagnosis, it can be easy to want to dive in and read every paper about the disease to see what you and your senior are dealing with. While information is beneficial, if you are pursuing a course of treatment, obsessing over details and making life solely about the diagnosis can make it more difficult to see what life will be like after treatment. Try to find a balance between information and maintaining a sense of normalcy.
One of the most difficult parts of receiving a diagnosis is the uncertainty. Medical science always has room for some surprises, and it can be too easy to get tied up in hypotheticals and lose track of what is really likely to happen. Everyone handles uncertainty differently, but establishing a routine or control over tangible things (like regular doctor’s appointments, meeting with friends a standing weekly hair appointment) can provide structure to a life that is now more unsettled than it has been historically.
A difficult diagnosis can be life-changing, but supporting your senior throughout the diagnosis and treatment can be an easier process if you rely on your community and resources available. Call a home care agency today to get help with management of these tasks.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Senior Care in Marietta, GA, please call the caring staff at Always Care Nursing Service today.Call for Assistance: (404) 266-8773 or (800) 989-7828
Administrator of 3 Florida (Always Care) Home Health Agencies for over Fourteen years.
Always Care of Georgia since 2001
Served as a 1st Lt. In the US Army
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