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Why is Alzheimer's & Dementia Hard To Manage?

Elderly couple looking very stressed outPeople with dementia suffer from a higher degree of disability relative to seniors of the same age with other types chronic diseases because their cognitive loss (Dementia) reduces their ability to adapt to their multiple disabilities. 

They generally have combined deficits, in both physical and cognitive areas.  The memory loss drastically reduces their ability to adapt and increases the amount of time and supervision they require to meet their care needs.  For example, people who have other chronic disease like arthritis, COPD, Cancer, or Heart Disease go to the doctor and get treatment.  Because they have insight and judgment, they can make the decision to follow the doctors’ orders at home and likely manage their condition. They have the ability to adapt, ask questions, take their medications, call for help etc.  Unfortunately, people with Dementia lack the ability to adapt, & therefore their functional level declines dramatically. 

Often spouses or adult children take on the responsibility of caregiver.  Most family caregivers lack the formal Medical and Mental Health training required to effectively manage behaviors of paranoia, agitation, rumination, repetitive thoughts, or a sudden onset or worsening of their behaviors in the evening which is called sundowning.

Lack of Caregiver Support

In addition, the spouse or family caregiver often do not have the support they need to manage their loved one at home; frequent late nights with no sleep, difficulty getting loved one to bathe, take their medicine, paranoia, agitation, combativeness, lack of insight & judgment are all road blocks family caregivers face.  Families believe keeping their loved one at home with a little help is the best plan, but over time this plan is doomed to fail due to continually increasing long-term stress & financial burden placed on the family resources.

Lack of Geriatrics Training

Many paid caregivers; in-home care workers and nursing home staff are often not trained in multiple disciplines of Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia Care, Behavioral Therapy or Mental Health which lessens the quality of care the patient or resident receives.  TLCSR is unique, in that their caregivers have daily communication with our Geriatric MD & RN and gain knowledge, insight & understanding that other caregivers do not have the opportunity to receive. 

Many Primary Care Providers do not have the advanced Geriatric, Dementia or Mental Health training needed to make informed decisions on the most effective treatments. In addition, many Primary care Providers do not have personal relationships and do not have frequent contact with patients or get day to day updates from the caregivers and families. PCP’s often make decisions on care based on incomplete snap shots of the patient which makes it much more difficult to coordinate care effectively. This is especially true when dealing with complex, mixes of chronic diseases where each element is expected to vary. 

As your loved one’s functional level declines from both physical and cognitive loss, the need for an experienced team like TLCSR, that includes Geriatric Medical Professionals (MD & RN), to coordinate & oversee the care, is extremely beneficial to ensure the resident and families receive the most complete care. Not only, is it beneficial to have a doctor and nurse with the medical knowledge and experience in Geriatrics, Geriatric Psych and Dementia Care but it is essential for the MD & RN to make themselves available to the staff and family to answer questions, provide support & education and adjust the plan of care at a moment’s notice.

TLCSR can help reduce the overall stressors that come from caring for someone with Dementia or Alzheimer’s by providing support to the family caregiver, helping to improve their interaction with their loved one and reduce their own stress by giving them the opportunity to focus on themselves.   Likewise, they can help reduce the stress that comes with the financial costs of Dementia Care which is typically very expensive and rises quickly from month to month, year to year. TLCSR offers a significant dollar value, for a fixed, inclusive monthly rate that typically does not increase with time. 

TLCSR provides the needed communication & coordination of care that is required to deliver complete care and the most effective Alzheimer’s treatments.

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