When my Care Patrol office first got a call from Sarah, her husband Mike (not their real names) had been diagnosed with aphasia and dementia. They made the rounds to the specialists, ran all the recommended tests, took the meds, did their online research – and then she freaked out.
She was fearful, frustrated, angry and defeated – and I couldn’t blame her. She reached out to the best doctors at the best hospitals in one of the biggest cities in the world. And while they did an excellent job of diagnosing the disease, they did little to help her with the next chapter in her life. What was she supposed to do with the list of resources handed to her? How was she going to manage a husband that was losing his ability to talk and comprehend simple commands? Could she afford to quit her job to be a full time care giver? How was she supposed to deal with toileting, grooming, dressing? What about the suffering and symptoms her husband was experiencing? How was she supposed to respond to her family that was quick to criticize and give her advice when they had no idea what she was experiencing?
Sarah realized there may not be a cure or an appropriate treatment for her husband’s condition, but she needed additional support for the chronic maladies that would affect the rest of their lives. She was fortunate to find Care Patrol. As Sara’s senior care advisor, I was able to focus on what her and her husband were experiencing. I could sympathize with the long waits to get doctor’s appointments, the expensive drugs that did not have the desired effects, the office staff that stared indifferently, the embarrassment when her husband could not control his bowels in public, or the horror she experienced when he ran into traffic.
Our American healthcare system excels at curing acute problems. It fails miserably transitioning from telling people what made them chronically sick, to how to deal with the experience of dealing with being sick and what comes next. Families must usually rely on their own wit and resources and wing it as they go through this next chapter in their life.
Care Patrol is here to help families make the transition from the disease diagnosis to managing the long-term care. We do this by helping to set realistic expectations, educating, listening, and creating a care plan that often involves options for assisted living, memory care, and in-home care. Sarah and Mike are another Care Patrol success story. We were able to find them a memory care community that is allowing Mike to thrive and giving Sarah the freedom to be a wife instead of a full time caregiver.
If you or someone you know needs help with the next steps in senior living care, please reach out. We are a free service and are here to help.