Families faced by the challenges of finding help for an aging parent is difficult. Locating a caregiver, home care equipment, the best facility or information on advocacy, etc. is an astronomical and life sucking chore. Becoming a family advocate for a person with dementia doubles the stress, because the loved one will gradually be unable to effectively be able to direct their own care.
In Michigan, there are many resources that can help overall from the beginning, when the loved one starts showing signs of aging issues. Don’t stress if the stage has already progressed. It is never too late to prepare and get help. It is easy to be overwhelmed with all the different facets of dealing with another person’s life and try to maintain reality in one’s own life.
To make a determination that a loved one (or self) may need test for Alzheimer’s, or other dementia, go to Alz.gov or Alz.org, read and gather information about the different stages of memory loss, interaction, treatments and resources.
Be prepared with a senior help directory.
Start with the physicians diagnosis and make a list of the needs of the loved one. Locate government centers in the area that can provide directories of care, consultation, equipment and service organizations to contact. If a family advocate realizes early that the need is there, and is prepared with resource information, detection, care and family plans and intervention the process will go much smoother.
Locate senior, community and aging services nearest you.
Senior or community centers can provide all types of programs and service information. County Area on Aging departments can help with many issues, including finding respite care, equipment loan organizations and safe care giving services. On the Internet, go to Michigan.gov, Michigan Seniors, Michigan Office of Services for the Aging.
Research care giving services and private caregivers.
Information is available on the Michigan Offices of Services for the Aging, and the Area Agency on Aging site. There are also other websites that help with searching for the right people to be in your loved ones home and helping with the most private and intimate care.
Keep in mind that a caregiver may be wonderful and have great credentials, however, not all great care professionals are cut out to be dementia caregivers. Successfully taking care of someone who is going through loss of brain path function is a special field. The successful caregiver must be skilled in how to cope and deal with incidents that may include anger, aggression, fight and flight and depression along with the memory loss of mobility and body functions. Every person is different and that person’s care may change from moment to moment and day by day.
The changes in a person with dementia, especially with Alzheimer’s can be devastating to loved ones. It can be frustrating and trying to professionals who have not been trained specifically for dementia care.
The National Institute of Health, National Institute on Aging offers a resource guide for finding help for person’s dealing with Alzheimer’s Issues.
Finally, for support resources by county, specifically for all types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Lewy Bodies, and other, go to Michigan Dementia Coalition.
A good direct list from the Michigan Alzheimer’s Coalition chapter is at Dementia Coalition.org list of Michigan services and care.