Caregivers of those battling the demons of dementia are warriors. These warriors go to battle for their loved ones to ensure they are treated like the dignified persons they have always been. Once dementia wraps itself around a person, it often strips them of their personhood. They take steps backward, losing all they have gained in their adult life.
Caregivers deal with repetitive questions throughout the day. Houses often become messy as the dementia patient loses understanding of the purpose of items and where these items have belonged. The disease can cause isolation. Friends stop coming over or inviting the couple out because they lack understanding of what is going on or they are unsure of what to say. It becomes easier to stay at home where others won’t notice the symptoms that a person with dementia might display. Wandering out of the house and not knowing how to get back becomes frightening to everyone involved.
Sometimes caregivers do not live in the area, and therefore they depend on neighbors or friends to let them know what is going on with mom or dad. We have all heard stories about dementia patients who can cover up their disease on the phone and hold a conversion with their loved ones. Then someone will come to visit, and there is no food on the fridge, and the house is in complete disarray.
What many people are not aware of, is there are resources to help navigate you through these difficult times. Care management services help you look at the situation and see how resources in the community can fit your needs. Care managers will talk to you on the phone for an intake consultation. They will ask to meet you and your loved one to set up some interviews and often some assessments. It is best if this can be done in your home.
The care manager can look at things like sleep patterns, eating patterns, medications, and work with your loved one’s doctor to inform him/her of changes related to the progression of the disease. Care managers can be the go-between with siblings who may live out of town. Tough topics may arise over throughout the progression of the disease, and it is good to have someone navigate these conversations. Issues like: when to stop driving, when to consider moving mom or dad out of their home into a higher level of care are just some of the things a care manager might assist you with during this challenging time.
For more information about these services and how they can help direct you to proper resources in the community, contact Nicole Lipinski, RN at Aging Care Partners of the Jewish Home. 1101 Vine Street Scranton, PA 18510 570-344-6177 ext. 1113 or 570-903-2248.