The diagnosis of a dementing illness or disabling health condition marks a new stage in your life and your family’s life. Important decisions about care arise, along with uncertainty and anxiety. Some choices might need to be made right away. Others lie ahead.
If you’re caring for someone at home, you may be helping your loved one with a range of activities such as bathing, dressing, transportation, and food preparation. In addition, you may have to take care of legal and financial matters such as making medical decisions and handling bills and budgets. Fortunately, a variety of community care options are available to assist you and your loved one.
Boardwalk Homecare’s team Case Managers is always available to present an overview of the different services and programs available to caregivers and individuals with cognitive disorders or other chronic health conditions.
Assessing Needs, Values, and Preferences
Defining your family’s particular needs is the first step in determining what kind of help and support will best suit your circumstances. With so many services available to caregivers, you will need to first outline your specific concerns. It is also useful to think about the values and preferences of your loved one regarding the types of help he or she will accept. It might be helpful to hold a family meeting to discuss care needs and help with decision making. Try asking yourself the following questions and writing the answers on a sheet of paper:
What type of help does my loved one need now to live as independently as possible? (Nutrition services, dressing, bathing, lifting, medication management, supervision, companionship, housekeeping, transportation?)
What types of help might be needed in the future?
Who in the family will take charge of caregiving and/or make arrangements for care?
How much money is available to pay for outside resources? Will insurance cover any services?
What days and times do I need help?
What kind of assistance can I provide myself?
Do I have a job that will affect the amount of care I can provide?
What types of help are my friends and family members willing to provide?
Can we get used to having a stranger in our home to help us?
Can we adjust to someone who speaks a different language?
Would a male or female helper be preferred?
Do we want out-of-home care? What kind? How often? How long?
Community Care Options
Community care programs and services vary in different states, counties, and communities. Most areas now have support services specifically designed for people with Alzheimer’s, stroke, Parkinson’s, and other chronic health conditions. Each community, however, differs in the services available and their eligibility requirements. Some primary community care options for the care recipient and their caregivers include:
• home care (hourly & live-in)
• care management
• legal and financial counseling
• transportation services
• nutrition programs
• medication and physician management
• hospice care
Boardwalk Homecare seeks to improve the quality of life for caregivers through education, services and advocacy. For residents in New Jersey, Boardwalk Homecare provides direct support services for individuals confronting Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s, and other debilitating health conditions that strike adults.