Dementia care

There are many causes of dementia. The most common is Alzheimer’s disease. But there is also vascular dementia (usually from a stroke), Lewy body dementia, Parkinson’s dementia, prefrontal temporal dementia … you get the idea.

Each has its own “signature” in terms of the types of cognitive impairment and the strategies needed to slow progression. There is no cure. But there are things you can do to make life easier for your loved one and for yourself. That’s where we come in!

Most of our care managers are medical social workers. We have all worked extensively with the cognitively impaired. Dementia is a cluster of symptoms that results in difficulties for the person who has the condition, but also extreme challenges for their family members as care needs become more demanding.

What you want is insightful expertise that is based on a firm understanding of your loved one’s condition and the stages of dementia so that appropriate strategies can be implemented.

To learn more about how we can support you and your family, give us a call at 917-514-8074.

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Coaching for family caregivers

Approximately 50% of our clients are dealing with dementia. This means their families are also significantly affected.

For spouses. Realizing your life partner has cognitive impairment brings up many losses. The future you had planned together. Perhaps financial issues if your loved one was still working and a source of income. Issues of intimacy may arise, as well as whom to disclose to, how to continue your social life, and the delicate balancing act of promoting independence while simultaneously being watchful for signs that more help is needed.

For adult children. Negotiating the dance of when and how to take the lead is difficult. Even if you get to the point of changing your parent’s diapers, they will always be the parent. You are still their child. People with dementia are very emotionally perceptive. They expect dignity and they know what disrespect feels like. It takes a sophisticated understanding of the disease and knowledge of effective strategies to make sure your parent is safely cared for while also maintaining the loving side of your parent–child relationship.

We can assist with regular meetings or ad hoc get-togethers to talk about your relative’s current status and how best to support them—and yourself—as the disease unfolds.

Topics might include the following:

  • Whether to get a full medical examination
  • Important legal paperwork to get in place early in the diagnosis
  • Balancing independence and interdependence
  • Warning signs that a change is needed (driving, handling finances, living alone)
  • Identifying triggers for emotional outbursts
  • Redirection and other soothing techniques
  • Preventing wandering or sundown syndrome
  • Addressing lost items or repetitive questions
  • Pros and cons of aging in place versus residential care (assisted living, memory care)

We can meet via telephone or video conferencing, one on one or with several members of the family so everyone can be on the same page. Most sessions result in an action plan that you can execute on your own or hire us to implement.

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Aging in place

The person you care for will be most comfortable if routines can be established so they can stay in their own home.

  • If you are a spouse, we work with you to create a plan that gives you as much involvement as you would like while also providing respite so you can take breaks, attend to your own health needs, and spend time with others away from your responsibilities for dementia care. You are more than a family caregiver. You need to maintain at least a small foothold in that part of your identity.
  • If you are an adult child, whether you live far away or close by, you will benefit from a home safety evaluation and regular check-ins to be sure that the current living situation is still safe. In the early stage of dementia, living alone is feasible. But as the condition progresses, 24/7 care will be required. It is usually not a good idea to have a parent move in with you, but we can support you if that is your decision. More effective is the placement of compassionate caregivers who come to the home fully trained in the needs of people with dementia.
  • If you are an attorney, wealth manager, or guardian, we can provide the care management and supervision needed on a daily basis to be sure your clients receive top-quality care and attention. You don’t have to worry about day-to-day concerns nor their medical needs. Leave that to us. You can focus on the skills that you do best, protecting their resources and providing wise stewardship.
    Learn more about our work with attorneys, wealth managers, and guardians.

Support to age in place can take many forms:

  • Home caregivers. Because 24/7 supervision is required from the middle stage of dementia onward, we offer our own vetted, highly trained, in-home caregivers through our employment agency, Home Care Match. The employment agency format allows you to hire well-educated, committed professionals who focus on the unique needs and care plan of your loved one. You receive flexibility, dedication, and customized care that is hard to come by in this industry. If you prefer a different payment process, we can recommend reputable home-care agencies in the New York City area.
  • Medical advocacy. One of the best ways to keep the person you care for safely at home is to keep abreast of changes in their medical conditions (not just dementia but also cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, or other illnesses). Our team serves as a patient advocate, making sure that specialists are talking to each other and that the recommendations of each physician are implemented accurately in the home setting. From physical therapy exercises to medication management and taking your loved one to treatments, we give the person you care for their best shot at coping effectively with their medical challenges.
  • Communication with family members. If you live far away or there are several siblings, not all of them in the New York City area, we can help everyone stay current with medical, cognitive, and emotional developments. If there are questions or concerns about treatment and decisions that need to be made, we can help provide the factual guidance you need to come to consensus about choices based on what your family member would want.
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Community resources

New York City has a plethora of community programs designed to support people with dementia and their families. The challenge is to know which ones are appropriate, offer top-quality care, and provide services at costs that meet the family budget. Our medical social workers know the eligibility requirements and can work with you to find convenient and affordable options, such as the following:

  • Support groups for persons with early-stage dementia
  • Support groups for family caregivers at all stages of dementia
  • Referral to estate-planning attorneys to draft important legal and financial documents while your relative still has the ability to express their preferences
  • Meal delivery for those who should no longer cook for themselves
  • Driving assessments and suspension of license when appropriate
  • Adult day centers for daytime socialization for clients and respite for spouses and family members
  • Consultation regarding residential care such as assisted living or memory care
  • Move managers if the decision is to have your loved one move out of town to be closer to family members outside New York City
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