Severe-stage dementia caregiving is hard. Whether you've managed solo until now or have tapped into help all along, here are three resources not to overlook at this stage of the process:
1. Grief support. Dementia caregivers are especially vulnerable to anticipatory grief, a kind of mourning for someone who is "here but not here." Most grief counselors are used to working with dementia-care families. Palliative care services and hospice services can provide this. Or perhaps you just want to talk to your clergyperson at this point; there's no shame in confiding you have such emotions.
2. Palliative care services. This kind of multidisciplinary service provides comfort care to the person with chronic illness and to the family. Doctors, social workers, therapists, and others may be involved on the team. It's ideal for dementia patients because they're often ineligible for hospice, which requires a six-month prognosis; death can be difficult to forecast with severe dementia.
3. Therapy or support groups. Even if you've never used the services of a counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other trained therapist in the past, this is the perfect time to consider it. You're probably coping with a myriad of issues: grief, difficult medical decisions, eventual transition to life after caregiving, social isolation, possibly depression or anxiety or sleep issues, and more. An expert ear can give you courage, inspiration, and strength.