This article is to help family members understand key considerations for helping take care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s or Dementia in a high quality, smooth and budget conscious manner.
Understand the macro environment:
Over the last 5 years, a lot of attention has gone into raising money, awareness and driving positive policy changes. For example, the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act passed in 2018 was an excellent bipartisan effort promoting investments for people affected by Alzheimer’s. BOLD helped improve public health to increase early detection and diagnosis, risk reduction and caregiving support for Alzheimer’s. In early 2021, Congress increased funding and passed the Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act as part of the Older Americans Act and the Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act. In Texas, per Alzheimer’s impact movement (AIM), an advocacy group, Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in Texas. Deaths due to Alzheimer’s increased 217% since 2000. During COVID-19, deaths from Alzheimer’s and dementia were 26% higher than the baseline.
When you are planning for in home care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, first and foremost you need to get the basics right:
- Know your loved one’s condition as well as possible. For example, how many years has it been since a diagnosis of their Alzheimer’s or Dementia? Both are cognitive disorders and manifest themselves and progress differently. It is important to understand the impact of the condition on the person’s personality and behaviors. Is memory impaired or are their social filters getting impaired? Do they remember aspects of their life from 1 month vs 1 year vs 5 years ago?
- Chronic conditions in addition to Alzheimer’s or Dementia – More than 95% of people living with Alzheimer’s have one or more other chronic conditions. This includes 38% of people with Alzheimer’s that also have heart disease and 37% that also have diabetes. It is critical to know what is the progression of each of these conditions in addition to Alzheimer’s or Dementia. A lot of this context is important in balancing physical vs mental exercises or lack thereof, diet intake and medication intake that are related to such comorbid and chronic conditions.
- The more we know about your loved one’s situation, the more likely our caregiver team can personalize care and apply person-centered care – a best practice approach. From the perspective of individuals living with dementia, quality care includes person-centered care techniques that address their unique experiences and needs, which is contrary to a “one size fits-all” approach.
In our experience, in addition to having positive intent, for you to successfully arrange reliable and compassionate care to a loved one with Alzheimer’s or Dementia takes careful upfront planning and coordination with your in-home care company. This is especially crucial since these conditions are progressive in nature and evolve very differentially and in a personalized journey for your loved one. Relying on experts like us that have supported more than a thousand clients with Alzheimer’s or Dementia in the DFW area for over 15 years will help you access expertise and experienced caregivers to support your loved one. Unlike big agencies or corporate run services, we are a local, family run company and our personalized focus starts and remains with you. We never forget that our clients have placed an enormous amount of trust in us to take care of them loved ones. We hope this article provides you helpful information in your journey. At your convenience, we are available to discuss your specific needs. Thank you for reaching out and placing your trust in us.