18 Jul Case Managers – August 2022
In addition to the challenges of caregiving in general, caregiving for someone with dementia can be very difficult. It can feel like you are caring for your loved one half the time and caring for a stranger the other half. Unfortunately, as time passes, the reality is that you will see less of the person you know and love. Dementia unfolds in each person uniquely and it is hard to gauge what the day will look like or even the next hour. There are several steps you can take to prepare if you have a family member with dementia. I found that the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org, is filled with a wealth of resources to get started. Here are four things to focus on to pave the way as a caregiver for someone with dementia.
If you or your loved one is noticing signs of memory loss, it is crucial to seek medical attention. There may be medication that can slow memory loss or changes in current medications that can help. There could even be a condition that is causing dementia-like symptoms that could be treated.
It is crucial to talk openly with your loved one and family about what you are noticing and/or they are experiencing. Always remind them it is nothing to be ashamed of and you are there to support them. From my experience once memory loss is identified, speaking factually about it works well. Saying “Dad, you have early memory loss and I think that is why you are confused right now” works better than “Dad, you should know this, did you forget again?” It is difficult, but important to talk early about what the plan is as their condition worsens.
Knowledge equals empowerment and there are many resources to learn about dementia and avoid going into the situation blindly. If it is early, include your loved one when educating yourself and use techniques where you are learning side by side rather than you relaying information to them. This will empower them to learn and help with planning for the present and future. Educate family members as well. This will come in handy in the future so you can count on others for support.
Support while you are caregiving is pivotal to caregiving with success and taking care of yourself. See Drake’s article on the next page for respite ideas that would work for you!
It’s August already? This is the month when I am trying to pack in all I can before summer ends! Are you free the evening of Friday, August 26? Don’t forget to sign up for our Pig Roast with Elvis that is sponsored by Friends of Verona Senior Center. Space is limited! Hope to see you there!
Julie Larson, Lead Case Manager
CAREGIVER SUPPORT & RESPITE
Support & Resources
Let’s explore resources specifically for caregivers who have loved ones with dementia. Dane County is rich with resources to help you and your family navigate this very difficult time. Caregivers support groups, memory cafes, day centers are all available to support your family.
Club 108, a program offered here at the Senior Center, is an activity program designed for individuals with early memory loss. Lead by trained Senior Center staff and volunteers, this program offers a range of activities such as crafts, music, games and more. The group aims to provide caregivers a worry-free break. Club 108 provides socialization and light mental exercise in a low stress environment, at no cost to attendees. For more information, see page 22 or call 608-845-7471.
Several memory cafes are offered in the area and have similar activities to Club 108 except they are designed for caregivers to attend with their loved one, ideally creating memorable experiences.
Adult Day Centers
If you are looking for respite for a day or multiple days a week, we have a number of local day centers to choose from. Adult Day Centers offer caregivers a safe place to leave their loved one, knowing they will be cared for by trained staff. They offer a variety of activities designed to slow memory loss and cognitive decline through games, exercise and projects and provide opportunities for socialization.
The Agrace Day Center, which opened this year, is located on the Beltline near Fish Hatchery Road. It provides a full day of care designed for older adults in search of a social outlet. They specialize in providing care for adults with memory loss and they also offer personalized services such as bathing and have staff trained to administer medication. Julie and I have toured this facility and we can attest to its quality! Call 608-327-7303 for more information.
Caregivers Support Group
The Senior Center offers a drop-in caregivers support group at 10 AM on the first and third Tuesday of the month. This is a great place to support one another and share resources.
The resources mentioned here can all be found on the Dane County website (below) or by calling 608-261-5679 https://www.danecountyhumanservices.org/Disability-and-Aging/Senior-Services/Family-Caregiver-Support. Caregiving is a difficult and stressful full-time job. You are not alone in this journey!
Hello everyone! I hope you all are enjoying these summer months! Pretty soon the leaves will start changing colors which is my absolute favorite! I hope to see you at the Senior Center for the pig roast, I mean who doesn’t love some pork and a concert?
Drake Deno, Case Manager