Susie & Dorothy
Susie, a dedicated mother to two young daughters, shares her home with her loving husband and her aging mother, Dorothy. As Dorothy’s primary caregiver, Susie faces the challenging dynamics of managing her mother’s evolving health condition. Four years ago, Dorothy was diagnosed with Mild Neurocognitive Disease, which has since progressed into dementia. This progression has introduced new complexities into their lives. Dorothy often wanders, struggles with urinary incontinence, and experiences confusion, mistaking Susie for her sister. Her disrupted sleep patterns add to the challenge, as she frequently wakes at night, attempting to leave the house.
This situation places a significant strain on Susie, who is trying to balance the demands of caring for her young family and her mother. The cumulative effect of these responsibilities has left her feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about how to proceed. Seeking a solution, a friend recommended that Susie consider consulting a Care Manager. This professional could offer guidance and support in navigating the complexities of elder care, potentially easing the burden on Susie and improving the quality of care for Dorothy. This led Susie to reach out to me.
When Susie reached out to me, her voice was heavy with emotion. As she spoke, she couldn’t hold back her tears, confessing her exhaustion and the overwhelming sense of failure she felt in caring for her mother. We discussed things at length and I suggested that a comprehensive assessment would be a beneficial first step in understanding and addressing the situation.
Two days later, I visited Susie and Dorothy at their home. Dorothy, despite her confusion, was a gentle soul, able to walk unaided. However, her condition had led to several falls over the past year, fortunately without injury. Dorothy required help with daily activities like dressing, grooming, toileting, and managing her medications. Given her history of falls, it was clear she needed stand-by assistance while walking.
During our meeting, Susie shared her feelings of inadequacy and guilt about her mother’s care. We discussed the reality that even the most devoted caregivers can’t provide round-the-clock support. Recognizing this, Susie agreed to hire a nighttime caregiver for eight hours. This decision was crucial, as it addressed Dorothy’s needs during her nocturnal wanderings and assistance with toileting. Importantly, it allowed Susie to get the restorative sleep she desperately needed. With this arrangement, Susie could continue caring for her mother during the day while maintaining her own health and well-being.
Emily & Mary
Emily, a well-regarded attorney, began noticing unusual changes in her mother, Mary’s behavior. Mary, who always took pride in her appearance, was uncharacteristically disheveled when Emily came to pick her up for their weekly dinner outings. Emily also observed other worrying signs. Mary was often repeating herself when they talk each morning, last week she lost her purse and Emily found it in the closet under a pile of dirty laundry, and Mary got lost walking to the mailbox at the end of the street and a neighbor had to bring her back home.
Concerned, Emily confided in an elder law colleague at her firm, acknowledging her inability to provide daily care. The colleague recommended consulting with a Care Manager.
I met with Emily and Mary the following day at Mary’s home for an assessment. It revealed that Mary was in the early stages of dementia, with more significant memory issues than Emily had realized. To ensure Mary’s safety and well-being, we arranged for immediate round-the-clock care at her home. I organized Mary’s medication into a medication box and we placed a club on her car, addressing the recent dents showing on her car.
24/7 in-home care would not be financially sustainable, so we explored alternative living arrangements. We found a facility where Mary could have her own apartment with meals and housekeeping provided. This setup also allowed for personal care assistance as her condition progressed. Mary accepted this plan, and the transition proceeded smoothly, ensuring she received the necessary care in a supportive environment.
Cooperation and agreement are not always the case. An experienced Care Manager will be able to assist with resistance and refusal to allow services. Also, the Care Manager can a be the ‘bad guy’ in a situation, preserving the relationship between family and the client.
If you or someone you know needs Care Management or is not sure if Care Management is right for your situation, reach out to us. We’ll discuss the options available and help guide you in the direction needed for your situation, whether you need care management or not.