Dementia and Hospice Care
For family caregivers, Alzheimer’s and other dementias can be among the most difficult diseases to cope with. Dementias typically have a long trajectory, and slowly losing a loved one over an extended period can be especially difficult emotionally. In the later stages of the disease, patients with dementia require constant supervision, and caregivers can easily burn out.
The holistic support hospice offers can be particularly helpful for families coping with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. As with any serious illness, Delaware Hospice provides exceptional care that can dramatically improve a patient and family’s quality of life.
Holistic Care Planning with the Whole Family
Every individual has different needs, different goals, and different types of care they respond to best. Delaware Hospice coordinates care planning with the family to give each patient the individualized care they need. We take the time to learn about the patient’s hobbies and interests to help plan therapies, activities, and treatments that will keep the patient stimulated and surrounded by a sense of familiarity.
Depending on the stage of disease, some of our approaches include reminiscing with the patient, offering soothing hand massage, identifying household tasks the patient can help with, and doing activities like puzzles or pastimes related to former hobbies and interests.
Caregiver Education and Support
Families frequently feel at a loss for how to care for their loved one with dementia. We educate families and caregivers on what to expect and coach them in ways to handle their loved one’s behaviors and challenges. For example, we might teach them how to avoid potentially upsetting conversations, prepare them for the day mom will lose her ability to smile or swallow, or help with strategies and medications to alleviate exhausting nighttime disturbances.
In addition, we’re able to lighten the load of home-based caregivers. Our CNAs help patients with activities of daily living, like bathing and personal care. Our in-patient centers offer caregivers a chance to recharge while their loved one receives quality respite care. Our social workers, volunteers, chaplains, and bereavement counselors provide patients and their families with additional support.
Care in their Environment
By having in-home hospice care—whether it occurs in a memory care unit or in a person’s house—we’re able to manage medications, treat wounds, and more without the taxing and upsetting trips to the doctor’s office. Seeing a person regularly in their own environment also enables us to make home-specific suggestions that maximize a patient’s comfort and safety—like putting bells on doors (never locks for fire safety!) to keep patients from wandering off, or ensuring that the environment is calm and soothing.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 55 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. New research published in 2023 projects that this number will reach 150 million by 2050. Hospice support can serve as a critical lifeline for the growing number of family caregivers coping with the impact of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.