As a long-time spouse, taking on the role of caregiver can be an extremely difficult process that many couples simply do not foresee. Journalist Tara Bahrampour highlighted the conversations held among families about future long-term care steps in her recent Washington Post article called “Promise you’ll never put me in a nursing home.” Having witnessed the decline of a loved one in the past can influence the instructions someone gives to spouses and children now in favor of a residential facility. Instructions NOT to consider nursing home placement also can be impossible to ignore even as they become ever more difficult to safely follow. The stigma of “going to the home” can make people feel as though they were abandoned in their time of need. While caregivers have the best intentions to heed all of their loved ones’ directions, many don’t realize the true scope of their responsibilities and the diverse care options available.
Bahrampour features the thoughts of geriatrician Bill Thomas regarding what it might mean to change the conversation: “It’s actually the only thing we know how to do because we don’t have the actual language to say what we’re really asking: Promise me you’ll protect my dignity, promise you’ll protect my privacy, promise to make sure I don’t live in pain.” Exploring care options before a diagnosis or in the early stages of dementia can be a very helpful experience for caregivers. This way the entire family, including the one living with a dementia diagnosis, can recognize their options and help decide which environments would best fit their interests and needs. The promise a caregiver can best keep is to be a strong advocate who takes the necessary steps to allow their loved ones to thrive, regardless of their living environment.
To read Bahrampour’s full article, visit https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/promise-youll-never-put-me-in-a-nursing-home/2016/02/08/1ce8737c-cb62-11e5-a7b2-5a2f824b02c9_story.html.
Another essential resource for caregivers is a local support group designed to help families cope with the progressive stages of dementia. Here in Connecticut, the Alzheimer’s Association offers an innovative approach to caregiver support groups called Giving Alzheimer’s Purpose (GAP). The focus of these groups is on community involvement and interaction. Both Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers are included in different activities at different locations for each session. The social focus is meant to empower its participants and stimulate cognition through exploration and outings like museums and yoga classes. To find a GAP group, contact the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900.
At Weatherby & Assoicates, PC, we are passionate about advocating for caregivers to ensure that they are meeting the needs of their loved ones and finding a balance with their families and careers. For more information on our firm, contact us at 860-769-6938.
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