While there are options to treat and even prevent other life-threatening conditions such as cancer, heart attack, stroke and diabetes, there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s. Until effective treatments are discovered, good caregiving is the best solution we have right now.
But caregiving is difficult. It comes at great cost to the spouse or child providing that 24/7 care, both financially and to the health of the caregiver.
In 2014 the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation created a grant program challenging doctors and researchers to design new programs to improve care and reduce costs associated with dementia. The Dementia Care Ecosystem, now in its second year, is one of six studies underway through this program.
The ecosystem study trains “care team navigators” to provide support and care to families through regular phone calls and personal visits. Navigators offer tips for dealing with everyday challenges, but they also help families make proactive decisions and think about the care ahead.
Until a program like this is available to everyone, you can adopt the same approach right now. According to the Dementia Care Ecosystem, there are the four key interventions that will maximize your loved one’s health and help you prepare for advancing illness:
- Caregiver: Connect with resources that provide emotional support and offer coping tips.
- Decision-making: Address medical, financial and safety issues before they arise, including advanced directives.
- Medication: Work with your physician to track medications and dosages to make sure drug interactions are not causing or worsening symptoms.
- Functional monitoring: Watch for changes in sleep patterns and other behaviors to make proactive adjustments to environments and services.
Through our caregiver support group, partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association, community education programs, and short-term care options, CountryHouse has always been committed to offering an ecosystem of support to the families of those with Alzheimer’s.
If you’re caring for a loved one with dementia, please call to find out how we can serve as a “care team navigator” for you and your family.
Have a question about Alzheimer’s or dementia care? Call Nicole at (308) 381-1988 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.