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ComfortCare Homes Wichita Blog

Why I Walk – Pam Crawford

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 2:51:46 PM
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I walk for my Father who had Parkinson’s Dementia and for my Grandmother.

My memories of my grandmother as a Pastor’s wife are full of feeding us gum and candy bars in church to keep us kids quiet. She loved to cook and believed any ailment you had was remedied by food. Every one of us grandkids knew we were loved immensely and enjoyed the twinkle in her eye and laughter as she watched us eat together as a family. Memories of picking veggies from the garden and her canning – always remember her homemade Apple Butter.

Last but not least, was her legacy to us of her beautiful crocheted blankets, tablecloths, baby hats, doilies, etc. This was my fondest memory, of watching her sit for hours to make beautiful things that made others smile. It was extremely difficult to realize she could no longer remember how to crochet. Those treasures I keep close to my heart as does my daughter now that Grandma is no longer with us.

I struggled as my Grandmother began to lose her memory over time. I knew Grandma was still there even when she could no longer live at home. When her natural inhibitions no longer worked because of this illness, it was difficult to watch. Nevertheless, we wanted her to know she was loved in any way that we could. Watching my family struggle with this illness also wasn’t easy. You can’t argue with someone with this illness and when she began to live in her past thinking it was the present, it was difficult to watch my family try to persuade her. While we all learned over time the right way to react and interact, those struggles are so real. I am comforted to know that we had each other through the entire journey with my Grandmother.

My father’s journey with Parkinson’s dementia was different and yet equally as challenging. When you know someone who was so full of life and opinions, with a contagious unique laughter who served his country and loved his God with all his heart and then…….you see loss of independence in every facet of life, you cry a bit inside each time knowing that this could be you one day.

Watching him lose his ability to get his words out, lose his strength to sing and praise in church and even eat much, it hits your heart hard. What was so sweet to watch was putting on music he loved or having musicians come to play old hymns, he could still tap his foot and use his hands to show you that it was soothing to him. Even when he couldn’t eat much, you knew a soft Reeses peanut butter cup would offer him some enjoyment and of course, we all have his love of Reese to take with us.

There is not a lot in the way of medications to truly help a person with dementia who develop behavioral challenges. It pained me to see him have to be so medicated at times to finally allow him some inner peace. Watching his struggle to the very end until he took his very last breath, knowing that he was surrounded by family who sang/talked to him until that very last moment…..is another reason I walk.

Though I am so grateful we all had each other – there is still so much more to be discovered to help those who suffer with the illness and their families who have to endure along the way.

Help Pam by making a donation to the Comfort Crusaders Team – Click here to make a donation.

For more information about The Walk to End Alzheimer’s and how you can get involved, please visit our event page here. If you have any questions, feel free to call our office at 316-267-7333.

                

How Hospice and Comfort Care Support Spouses of Seniors With Dementia

Thursday, August 31st, 2017 7:05:55 PM
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Comfort care provides more than physical assistance: companionship, emotional support, and understanding

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease lay a heavy burden not only on the senior suffering from the condition but on their family caregivers, children and spouses too. As the disease progresses, dementia brings on new sets of challenges and obstacles. Many family members find themselves in the role of caregiver, taking on responsibilities that change their relationship as a daughter, son, husband, or wife. In the late stages of dementia, it often becomes necessary to bring in professional comfort care or hospice care. While these services are essential to the physical comfort of seniors, comfort and hospice care providers can also offer precious emotional support and companionship for spouses and loved ones.

Challenges Faced by Family Members

Family members, especially adult children and spouses, often suddenly find themselves taking on the role of caregiver for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Providing adequate care for a person whose memory is deteriorating can be incredibly difficult. Many family caregivers have no formal training or experience in caregiving. Watching a spouse or any other loved one struggle without being able to do anything about it can be frustrating.

For the spouses of dementia patients, the hardship of caregiving adds an unfamiliar facet to their relationship. A husband or wife may feel like they have failed their spouse if they are unable to provide adequate care on their own. Additionally, as their loved one’s condition worsens, they may become unrecognizable to their spouse. It is devastating for someone with whom you have spent years of your life with to see you as a stranger or even a threat. Dementia causes spouses to lose pieces of their loved one slowly, sometimes over many years, until the person they knew seems to no longer exist.

For these and many more reasons, spouses and family caregivers of loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease often experience feelings of isolation, helplessness, and depression. When hospice or comfort care providers are brought into the situation, they provide much-needed assistance with providing care, companionship, spiritual guidance and grief support.

How Comfort Care Helps Spouses and Family

Hospice and comfort caregivers are uniquely trained to provide more than physical, personal care for seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Today’s hospice care is considered to be the model for compassionate care for people facing a life-limiting illness such as Alzheimer’s disease. [Source: Huffington Post]

For family caregivers, comfort care providers offer a helping hand, easing the burden of being the primary caregiver for a parent, sibling, grandparent, or other loved one. While a caregiver takes over the majority of responsibilities, you will have the opportunity to sort through your own emotions and feelings. Dementia can be like losing a loved one in slow motion and the disease changes your relationship to one another. It is okay to grieve over this loss. Allow yourself to focus on the time you have with your loved one while a trained care provider ensures their comfort and well-being.

For spouses, hospice or comfort care provides support immediately. Professionals can provide a compassionate, listening ear and offer factual information. Despite practical matters, a comfort care provider can offer advice and companionship based on experience. They can help a husband or wife understand the realities of the situation and offer strategies for dealing with stress, depression, anger, and grief. Comfort bereavement can also be continued after the passing of a spouse, with care providers checking in periodically.

Finding the Resources and Help You Need

Unique challenges are present for family members as their loved one moved through the different stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia. You may find that you need assistance providing adequate care for a loved one. There are a variety of types of care assistance, from adult day can and part-time care to assisted living and 24-hour comfort care.

Educate yourself on the options available to you and your family. If your loved one is able, talk to them about which options they feel comfortable with. If they are no longer able to make these types of decisions on their own, know that you have resources and support available to you. Comfort care professionals can help you understand your options and make the best care decision for you and your family.

To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia and how comfort care can help, please call ComfortCare Home of Wichita at (316) 444-0532 or visit our website by clicking here.

Testimonials

I cannot say enough good things about Maurita & Susan (CareGivers) at 219.  They are always caring & cheerful & positive.  They have gone out of their way (I feel above & beyond) to help my aunt adjust to her new home.  They call me at the first sign of any concerns or changes in my aunt.  They treat her as part of their family.  I am very grateful every day that my aunt is in their care.  It is comforting to know she is where she belongs.  I feel like they are a great team!

- Carla Barnard

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