For those searching for ways to help their parents make a decision on in home care for Alzheimer’s/dementia in the Dallas TX – Fort Worth TX area, this article provides experienced based information to support this effort. As an in home care provider for Alzheimer’s/dementia Care Mountain – vascular dementia, Lewy Body Dementia, Parkinson’s disease dementia, frontotemporal dementia & mmixed dementia ) for the past 33+ years, here are things learned that seemed most helpful to families.
No matter how many years of experience, or how many families helped, I make it a point to never tell any family, ” I understand”. Unless I live their life, how could I? This brings out the uniqueness of each family situation, which is often the critical part of making that big difference. That said, the following generalizations will be limited by the uniqueness of your family situation.
In helping adult children work with their parents in getting much needed in-home care for a parent with Alzheimer’s/dementia, I found it most helpful to understand more about how each stage of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression & acceptance – and how it may be affecting the decision making process. This consideration is helpful on both the parent and adult child end. It is hard to get in-home care services on board if there is not an adequate level of acceptance of the need for them.
For most, denial seems to be the most lasting and impactful stage of grief and as a result the stage discussed here. As a spouse for a loved one with Alzheimer’s/dementia this stage often lasts in various manifestations throughout the journey, but for adult children it tends to be when their parent’s disease enters the ending stage of life. Denial entails taking on a stressful battle with reality, and it is this stress the wares down many spouse caring for their loved one with Alzheimer’s/dementia.
Most families have some level of a struggle getting past denial, the first stage toward acceptance. For a parent, here are some of the common challenges faced getting past denial. First, Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive with no known cure, making it hard to accept for anyone you love dearly – like a long time spouse. Second, as a cognitive condition you can not see it, which makes explaining away its manifestations more convenient/easier for some. Third, we often deny what we don’t feel we have a comfortable level of control over (i.e.; Alzheimer’s progression). Lastly, denial is a way for many to avoid confronting issues of self worth for themselves and/or spouse.
In trying to help your parent move past the aforementioned challenges of denial in getting needed in home care services for Alzheimer’s/dementia, it helps to focus on issues of listening, control and internal and external messaging/communication. As a professional care giver provider, the one thing that works equally well in almost every family situation is being a good listener. It will help you and your parent best understand what the denial challenge is, and it minimizes the chance of you being perceived unfavorably by your parent as being parented by their adult child. Often times a parent just needs to talk it out with someone they trust. I guess that’s why you often read the most helpful therapist does little talking.
Control and independence go hand in hand with older adults and are of increasing focus and importance in their later years. The more control/independence your parent feels they have, the more likely you are to get past denial with them on in-home care services, or almost anything else. Your parent’s feeling that it’s their idea and decision, compromise and further education for better understanding of Alzheimer’s/dementia and in-home care services all help make a parent feel more in control. Education is especially critical and involves learning more about Alzheimer’s/dementia to develop better coping skills and it will help you explain in-home care services in the most acceptable way.
Internal/external communication and messaging helps provide longevity to the benefits of good listening and feeling of control/independence, and negative messaging can undo these benefits. As part of being a good listener I have learned to ask and understand “why” a lot in order to identify the true challenge in one’s denial stage of grief. The “why” often goes back to an internal message your parent keeps telling themselves (often subconsciously) that keeps them in the denial stage. One of the more common ones I identify is, “getting in-home care help means I failed in my responsibility as a spouse”. For some, no matter the toll caring for their spouse it taking on their health, it is still where they get their sense of self worth and main daily activity.
While this article focused on in-home care for elderly with Alzheimer’s/dementia, the Dallas TX – Fort Worth TX area is lucky to have many more service options for your parent to consider with Alzheimer’s/dementia. If your parent is set on keeping their loved one at home, then an adult day care such as Friend’s Place, Adult Day Center at CC Young, Encore Senior Daycare Center, Arlington Adult Day Healthcare and the James L. West Center Day Program may be other options.