Growing older comes with its fair share of challenges, but dementia is not a natural part of aging. Our brains do change with age. However, a severe decline in cognitive functioning to the point where it interferes with daily life is not inevitable.
In this blog, you’ll find answers to the following questions:
- What is dementia care?
- What is a dementia care specialist?
- Where can I find dementia services for older adults?
What Is Dementia Care?
“Dementia” is an umbrella term for symptoms that change how our brains function, ranging from memory loss to impaired motor skills. Various disorders are grouped under dementia, including Alzheimer’s, which accounts for up to 80% of cases.
While there’s no cure for dementia, that doesn’t mean those living with it can’t enjoy a long, happy life. With the right support, those with dementia can continue living their life to the fullest, aging safely and comfortably in their own home.
So, what is dementia care?
Dementia care is designed to specifically help those living with all conditions that fall under the general term “dementia.” Dementia care includes a range of support services that meet older adults where they are during every stage of dementia. Some dementia services include:
- Personal care
- Medication reminders
- Physical activities
- Dementia activities
- Social activities
- Transportation and errands
- Light housekeeping
- Meal prep and nutrition
- Enabling hobbies and passions
But who provides dementia services? In this next section, we define what a dementia care specialist is.
What Is a Memory Care Specialist?
A dementia specialist is someone who’s experienced and professionally trained in caring for those with cognitive disorders. They are capable of managing those exhibiting dementia-related behaviors with both skill and compassion.
Dementia care experts implement individualized care plans based on a senior health assessment. Through the help of a memory care specialist, those living with dementia can remain in their homes instead of moving into an assisted living facility.
Geriatric care managers are dementia care experts, also known as elder care specialists, home care managers, and geriatric advisors. Classifying them one way is hard because they do so many things. In short, their two primary roles are to (1) help families navigate senior care in a way that empowers them to make informed decisions regarding their aging loved one’s care and (2) improve the lives of older adults.
These elder care professionals become anchors for families who feel like they’re in over their heads caring for aging loved ones. As the National Institute on Aging (NIH) puts it, geriatric care managers are like “professional relatives” who help families find resources to make caring for older adult relatives easier.
Here’s a list of services you can expect a geriatric care manager to provide:
- Advise families
- Advocate for seniors
- Assess seniors’ wellbeing
- Coordinate senior care
- Guide decision-making
- Mediate tense family relationships
- Create short- and long-term elder care plans
- Act as a liaison between professional caregivers and family members
This list isn’t exhaustive, and not all geriatric care management services are tangible. For example, geriatric care managers offer peace of mind to adult children because they have their parent’s best interests in mind.
Now, where can you find geriatric dementia care services?
Dementia Care Services for Older Adults in Wisconsin
People with memory challenges, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or more advanced dementia do better living in a familiar environment. Moving them out of their home can worsen symptoms and cause unnecessary stress. While becoming an in-home caregiver is a noble position to take in the life of a family member, it’s not always the best care scenario.
Caring for an aging parent is no small task, and dementia adds another level of complexity to the situation. However, family caregivers shouldn’t have to do it alone. With the help of a geriatric dementia care specialist, adult children can enjoy respite knowing their aged parent is in good hands.
At Stowell Associates, we offer geriatric care management services to support the needs of families and their aging loved ones. In addition, our partner, TheKey, provides in-home care services for older adults to provide a holistic home care experience. Not only does TheKey offer the services of in-home caregivers, but they have special caregiver training to better provide care to those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Whether you’re a family caregiver that needs advice or an adult child looking for a memory care specialist, give our Care Team a call at 414-488-6491. One of our geriatric care managers can tell you more about how we can support your family living in Wisconsin.