Family Choice Healthcare received a referral from a family who needed help with an elderly loved one. “Joan” is a 92-year-old woman who had been living on her own for quite some time. According to her, she was doing just fine – paying her bills, and taking care of her day-to-day.
However, it was becoming increasingly apparent to family and neighbors that Joan was slipping. She was becoming more and more confused and regularly forgetting to complete basic chores. Joan’s neighbors would check on her daily, bringing her food and assisting how they could, but she was very adamant that she was fine and did not want anyone helping her in her home.
As Joan’s condition worsened, her daughter, “Marilyn,” began to worry. Marilyn knew that assisted living was simply not an option, both financially and due to her mother’s wishes, but she struggled with knowing how she would ever be able to trust a stranger with caring for her mother in her own home.
Marilyn researched local in-home dementia care providers and set up a phone consultation between herself and “Dawn,” a Registered Nurse from Family Choice Healthcare. They met and discussed the situation, then set up a time for Dawn to come along with Marilyn and meet her elderly mother – not as a representative from Family Choice Healthcare, but as a friend. Marilyn took great comfort in knowing that Dawn was fully invested in the success of her mother’s in-home dementia care and her initial fears quickly faded. It was clear that Dawn had both the experience and compassion to realize that Joan was going to be resistant to meeting a Caregiver, so they would need to send her a friend instead.
Building Relationships and Friendships
When they arrived at Joan’s home, Marilyn greeted her mother and introduced her friend, Dawn. Joan and Dawn chatted and became acquainted with one another in a friendly, familiar and comfortable manner.
While they got to know each other, Dawn was also able to make some initial visual assessments. As Joan made tea, for example, Dawn watched how Joan used the stove, navigated the kitchen and got a general feel for how she moved around the house. She also noticed that telemarketers would call Joan multiple times per hour. More than once, Marilyn had to help her mother hang up the phone properly. Sadly, many of these callers attempted to take advantage of her as she chatted away.
As they were leaving, Dawn asked Joan if she would mind having her over to visit again soon. It was clear that this charming 92-year-old woman had enjoyed hosting her new friend, so they made plans for Dawn to return the following week.
When the day came for Dawn to return to Joan’s home, she brought along “Laura,” the Caregiver from Family Choice Healthcare who would be working with Joan one-on-one. When Joan came to the door to greet them, Laura was introduced as another friend that she had brought along. Joan was so excited to have visitors, and welcomed them both with open arms.
They sat and talked for over an hour, having a nice chat and getting to know each other. They talked about everything from Joan’s childhood and family to current events. On the way out, Laura said, “I had such a lovely morning with you and would really love to visit you more. What if I were to come back on Monday to say hi and check in to see if there is anything that you need?” Joan quickly agreed and they set the time.
Since then, Laura has been back every day for 3 hours a day, and Joan still doesn’t know she is actually a Caregiver – Joan feels she has made a new friend. From the very beginning, their deep bond has been built and maintained through friendship and trust.
A Model That Works
What Dawn and Laura did is a classic example of how we respectfully navigate a dementia patient’s resistance to in-home dementia care. Joan’s story is not at all uncommon. The road to successful home care for elderly with dementia can be a difficult and frustrating one for the family and friends who are responsible for them. So often, our dementia clients don’t see a problem and can become very defiant to care.
At Family Choice Healthcare, our tried and true approach is to establish genuine relationships between clients and primary Caregivers. Those deep relationships are our means of successfully providing home care for dementia patients. Much of the care that we provide is incredibly intensive and intimate and we know that without that trust and friendship, caring for dementia patients in their home can become an uphill battle.
The first step in our service delivery model is to have our Registered Nurse perform the initial assessment of the dementia client in their home so that there is a familiarity right from the very beginning. We know just how different every client is and every single situation is unique.
Our Caregivers also work closely with the family and friends who are ultimately responsible for our clients. Together, they monitor how the disease is progressing and develop individualized holistic strategies.
Our ultimate goal is simple – to provide your loved ones with high quality in-home care for as long as possible. To get started, call us today for a free consultation with one of our experienced representatives. We know how difficult that caring for a parent with dementia at home can be. Our staff is specially trained to work with dementia and Azheimer’s and will work with you to form a personalized plan of care.