Category: Caregiver

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Walk With a Doc: Caregiving for Patients with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Caregiving for Family Members with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Reported By Kerry Fillip, Director of the Area Agency on Aging of Central Texas

Walk With a Doc Crowd

Dr. Alan Stevens from the Center for Applied Health Research at Baylor Scott & White joined community members on February 16 at the Walk With a Doc event, a free monthly event where health providers speak on their area of expertise. Dr. Stevens shared his thoughts on the trends for caregiving for family members who have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia diseases.

Recent studies show that the burden of providing care for dementia patients is more intense than for patients with other diseases. This caregiving goes beyond the physical…and it is much more intense.

Walk With a Doc Back

Trends in Caregiving

Caregivers are having to learn a whole host of new skills in order to keep their loved ones with dementia at home. The traditional family dynamic has also changed. It used to be that daughters carried the burden for caregiving. Now, those daughters are in the workforce while siblings have moved across the country. Parents are living longer, and families are much more culturally diverse than ever before.

Add to this mix the fact that the number of patients needing care is about to vastly outnumber the pool of available caregivers. Baby Boomers will be aging at an exponential rate, and they have had far fewer children than in previous generations.

Day-to-Day Stress of Caregiving

Current studies of caregiving focus on the day-to-day burden of caregiving. These studies note that there is a higher rate of depression, a lower quality-of-life, and a lower rate of personal health among caregivers. And yet, the caregiver is the KEY factor in the ability to keep the loved one at home.

So, what do we do? If the caregiver is the KEY component to keeping the loved one at home and that caregiver is depressed with low quality of life and often ill themselves—while being unable or disbelieving that they have the right to take care of themselves—what will happen to both patient and caregiver? The idea is that healthcare and social agencies need to promote “family-centered” care—taking care of the entire family who has the dementia patient and the caregiver at the center.

Family-Centered CareWalk With a Doc Dogs

Why should healthcare be concerned about “family-centered” care? Because Americans are spending about $232 billion dollars annually on family health care. Yes, that’s BILLIONS…with a “B.”

While there is some good information, it is not readily available to the average person. Research groups are trying to produce much-needed materials, but funding is still an issue. The current expectation is that caregiving is “something that families just do.” We need to do a better job of coordinating across providers.

One such example of that is the upcoming Dementia Care Study that Baylor Scott & White is conducting in conjunction with UCLA and the Benjamin Rose Institute.  The Area Agency on Aging of Central Texas is also assisting in this study.

Dr. Alan StevensFor more information, or to participate in the dementia care study, please contact:

Dr. Alan Stevens,

Center for Applied Health Research

2401 S. 31st St.|MS-01-501| Temple, TX 76508

254-724-0989 Office

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Long-term Care Residents Honored During Residents’ Rights Month

Washington DC– Across the country, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities along with family members, ombudsmen, citizen advocates, facility staff and others will honor the individual rights of long-term care residents by celebrating Residents’ Rights Month. Residents’ Rights Month is an annual event held in October by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care to celebrate and focus on awareness of dignity, respect and the value of long-term care residents.
The theme for Residents’ Rights Month 2018 is, – “Speak Up: Know Your Rights and How to Use Them”– to emphasize the importance of residents being informed about their rights and being engaged partners in achieving quality care and quality of life. “We want residents to know the rights to which they are entitled, and we want to emphasize that residents should feel confident in speaking up about what is important to them,” said Lori Smetanka, Executive Director of the Consumer Voice.

The Nursing Home Reform Law, passed in 1987, guarantees nursing home residents their individual rights, including but not limited to: individualized care, respect, dignity, the right to visitation, the right to privacy, the right to complain, and the right to make independent choices. Residents who have made their home in nursing homes maintain their rights as U.S. Citizens. Residents’ Rights Month raises awareness about these rights and pays tribute to the unique contributions of long-term residents.

The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program has worked for more than 40 years to promote residents’ rights daily. More than 8,000 volunteers and 1,000 paid staff are advocates for residents in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. Authorized under the Older Americans Act and administered by the Administration on Aging, the program also provides information on how to find a facility, conducts community education sessions, and supports residents, their families and the public with one-on-one consultation regarding long-term care.

 


become a volunteer
contact Chrystal Griggs regional ombudsman at (254) 770-2368

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. -Gandhi