Support for Caregivers of Family Members Living With Dementia
Dementia occurs when a patient displays symptoms that affect their cognitive, behavioral, and psychological health. These challenges range from memory loss and difficulty communicating to confusion and depression. Along with patients, caregivers face a whirlwind of emotions when it comes to witnessing a loved one's health deteriorate. This does not include the financial stress that comes along with it. This can weigh heavy on your spirits. Elite Choice understands the added pressure in finding the proper information to help caregivers navigate this difficult disease. Before we provide insightful information and tips on preventing mental and physical burnout for caregivers, it is important to understand New York's CDPAP program.
The Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) is a statewide Medicaid program in New York. It allows the consumer, or person living with dementia, greater flexibility and freedom of choice when it comes to having a say in who provides assistance to the consumer under the consumer's instruction, supervision, and direction. This can be anyone that the consumer trusts-- from a family member to a friend. The state will then compensate the provider for their services. If the consumer is not in the state of mind or health to make decisions themselves, the decision on who will act as the provider will be made by a designated representative. The person helping can perform any services that directly relate to the consumer's health. This includes administering medicine, hygienic assistance, preparing meals, or other daily and necessary tasks that the consumer is unable to perform.
Tips on Caregiving
- Ask for Help When You Need It. Between juggling your own life and tending to other family members, sometimes you just don't have the energy or time. Establishing relationships with the doctors, nurses, and/or other at-home caregivers will allow you to have the resources you need. Perhaps other family members can act as backup caregivers when needed. Although a hard conversation, this will provide you with the support you deserve. Lastly, check with your local community on different resources that may help.
- Live Your Life. Don't feel guilty if you make plans outside of caring for a loved one. If caregiving is a full-time job, be sure to set time aside every day for yourself. It is easy to get lost in such a selfless profession. Whether it's meditating every morning or getting a massage once a week -- caring for yourself is a practice. Indeed, it's important to remain in a healthy state of mind when caring for others.
- Pay Attention to Your Mental Health. Studies show that caregivers tending to those with dementia over other diseases is associated with higher levels of distress and depression. Especially if it is a family member or spouse. Watching your loved one struggle with any sort of mental or physical ailment can affect your mental health in various ways. Dementia can also trigger behavioral issues such as yelling, arguing, and being uncooperative. It is important to remember that your loved one is experiencing symptoms and is not a reflection of their true self. We also recommend going for daily walks, meditating, and other relaxation techniques to help relieve stress and bring you peace of mind.
Learn More about Caring for Caregivers
The CDPAP program is a great choice for many patients living with dementia. Having someone familiar care for a loved one coping with dementia is comforting and reliable for everyone involved. Whether you are someone in the medical field caring for patients with cognitive diseases or a family or friend-- please be kind to yourself and be sure to look into all the different resources that could help you on this journey.
Elite Choice has been awarded as Lead Fi by the NY Stte, Department of Health for the CDPAP program. Along with ensuring accurate pay and scheduling assistance, we also offer support to caregivers along their caregiving journey. Reach out to us for assistance. We'll be glad to help.
Written by: Leah Ganz
Leah Ganz, RN, BSN is the Director of Patient Services at Elite Home Health Care. She has an extensive background in homecare and previously worked in various specialties including pediatrics, pain management and internal medicine. She oversees all patient services across Elite's departments.