I Know Somebody Who Can Help with That!
You don’t know what you don’t know. But contrary to popular opinion, what you don’t know actually can hurt you.
One Saturday a few weeks ago, my husband and I were eating a late lunch at a local restaurant. When seated, the partitions are just high enough to keep you from seeing the people in the next section, but nothing could stop the sounds of the voices gathered that day to discuss…a problem.
“Well, does someone have power of attorney?”
“She’s going to need help….”
“The home health people said they don’t go out as far as where she lives….”
“I’ll just take charge of her car….”
“Who’s going to oversee her money?”
“For right now, she’s in the hospital, but what about when she gets out?”
The various sentences we could catch were louder and more tense that the rest, and while we didn’t want to intrude on their obvious family emergency, it was clear enough from what we could hear that something of a catastrophic nature had happened to the family matriarch and, apparently, they had no plan in place for that scenario. The conversation was confused and angry with different personalities vying for control. They certainly seemed to understood things were going to change, but nobody was able identify their own individual responsibility.
I felt for them so much because there was a time when I was the one sitting frantic at a dinner table with my husband and my mother, and we were having a similarly difficult conversation about my grandparents. I agonized as I listened to these people; I wanted to help, although the situation seemed too intense for a total stranger to just walk up and “intrude” in their grief and confusion.
Once again, I recognized the overwhelming need for families to plan ahead—before something happens and emotionally distressing circumstances force them to make some hard, hard choices.
My newest book, Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s or Other Dementia: Everything I Wish I Had Known was written for this express purpose. I’ve done the research—ahead of time—so the family that’s new to caregiving doesn’t have struggle to figure things out. Additionally, there’s information for the seasoned caregiver who’s navigating assorted challenges that come with the caregiving role. The book is written in everyday language so it’s a quick read that’s easy to follow:
- Chapter One explains the must-have legal documents that are necessary to provide care for a loved one
- Chapter Two gives a medical explanation of dementia, including how a diagnosis is made, the different dementia types, and the current treatment protocols
- Chapter Three looks at the various options for long-term care as well as their associated costs
- Chapter Four delves into family relationships, offering some suggestions to help resolve—or to at least reduce—conflict
- Chapter Five provides an in-depth look at safety, including a room-by-room home safety checklist
- And Chapter Six addresses caregiver self-care, offering easy tips to help caregivers reduce their stress—and explaining why this is a key component to providing great care
I’m currently working on turning these chapters into a six-session seminar which I will teach. It is crucial for people to understand this fact: the degree to which a family prepares for the future is directly correlated with how smoothly the transition into providing care will move forward. Please—take some time and find out what you may not know!