When Laura’s 62-year-old widowed mother, Betty, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, it was a shock. Laura had noticed signs of memory problems – Betty had gotten lost on her way to a doctor’s appointment and was forgetting to pay bills – but she hadn’t expected this. Laura had no siblings and suddenly found herself in a caregiving role.

Laura realized she needed to learn as much as possible about Alzheimer’s disease and what to expect. Her mother was still living at home, but it wasn’t safe for her to drive anymore. This was frustrating for both of them, because Betty felt she was losing her independence and Laura now had to arrange for transportation whenever her mother needed to get to appointments. Laura worked full-time and while her employer allowed her time off when she needed it, she didn’t want to push it too much.

It was an emotional roller coaster ride: one minute, Laura felt perfectly capable of taking care of her mother’s needs, and the next minute she felt overwhelmed with fear and uncertainty of what was to come.
It also became clear that while Betty was fiercely insistent about living at home by herself, she was becoming neglectful of her personal care and was forgetting to take her medications. Laura contacted her local Alzheimer’s Association chapter and decided to join a support group and get recommendations on what to do. At one meeting she learned that she could hire a care manager who could help guide them both on this journey. It would be a relief to have someone to turn to, who could navigate the complexities of elder care.

As Betty’s care manager, I helped Laura find in-home services so that Betty could live at home as long as possible. These services also gave Laura a break from caregiving, as every caregiver needs a break! I monitored Betty’s medications, took her to her medical appointments, and coordinated care with her provider team. I also helped Laura explore options for Betty’s care in the future and possible transition to a memory care unit, as well as locate state and federal entitlement and benefits programs.

Caregiving is a role many of us take on at some point in our lives. It can be one of the most rewarding, but also one of the most demanding experiences we can have. You don’t have to go it alone – a care manager by your side can make all the difference in easing stress and ensuring your loved one gets the care they need.

If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, please give us a call at (920) 740-8441 or email us at sue@coylecaremanagement.com. We’ll be happy to assist!