Severe-Stage Dementia Help

3 Resources for Severe-Stage Dementia Caregivers

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.

Paula Spencer Scott

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers and much of the Alzheimer's and caregiving content on Caring. See full bio

about 5 years, said...

what do you do once your loved one passes away? How do you go on with a normal life after you have spent so much time focused on your family member?

about 6 years, said...

My mother and father had dementia of different kinds. My brother were the main caregivers. I know that helpless feeling of caring for a women who looked like my mom. We learned so much about dementia that the doctors and nurses and the people at Hospice encouraged me to write about it. I did. My book is "Robbers of the Mind", sold on Amazon and Barnes and Nobel web sites. I just hope it will help caregivers through such a sad, frustrating time.