It is often difficult to navigate the various support services and providers and to discern what is best for loved ones with Alzheimer's or dementia.
Caregivers should think about particular needs of their loved ones and specific concerns they have about their care. Some concerns could include how the affected person can live as independently as possible; financial capabilities for care; days/times the caregiver needs help; in-home vs. long-term care; and providers' reputation and quality of care.
Having so many choices and decisions can be a time-consuming process for the caregiver, but research and recommendations from friends and family can assist in locating and securing the most appropriate services for a loved one.
Alzheimer's Services has a database of health care providers and services with contacts and phone numbers which can help reduce a lot of leg work. Also, caregivers can enlist the help of a geriatric care manager, who specializes in finding the resources available and most accommodating in the community for the affected individual and the family.
In any case, it is a good idea for caregivers to start looking for resources before the tasks become too overwhelming and burdensome; it becomes more challenging to make decisions during a time of crisis.
When looking at resources, caregivers should call and/or conduct interviews with the agencies and take notes on all the exchanges, including the contact's name and specific services the agency can provide. It is also important to ask questions about Medicare or Medicaid eligibility, long-term care coverage, and/or veterans benefits to gain a better understanding of financial resources that may be available.
Caregivers should be proactive in their search and assertive with health care providers in ascertaining their specific needs.
Some services available through state programs may require you to be placed on a waiting list since the demand for existing Alzheimer's-related services has increased while funding for some service programs had decreased. In that respect, it would be very advantageous to anticipate the needs of a loved one ahead of time and to complete the process to be placed on the waiting list. These actions might minimize the length of the waiting period.
Holding a family meeting to filter through available services and to select what services match a loved one's needs can help the primary caregiver in the arduous decision-making tasks. Once a plan is made and services confirmed, the caregiver can feel more assured of the future care of their loved one with the disease.