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Respite Care, What Is It?

 REGINA D. Posvar LPN,RNA
REGINA D. Posvar LPN,RNA

A: Respite care is temporary care that is given to a dependant person with dementia, ill or handicapped person in relief of their usual caregiver. Also known as short-term care. With Alzheimer’s or other dementias, this relief care is crucial in providing support for the primary caregiver that does hands on care.

Respite care can be given by a friend, another family member, day care centers and some assisted living facilities provide a respite service. Often families will hire a company or private individual to assist with respite. The care can range from 1 hour to several hours to even a holiday length of time. The only adult day care service for elderly is in La Clery, and this can be an option for residents in St. Lucia.

Q: My husband is acting really strange lately. His behavior has been inappropriate and his memory is not bad, but he does struggle with handling our bills. It just takes him so long to mange. I am fearful of what the doctor will say. What do you think it could be?

A: Please take him to the doctor. Sudden behavior changes should never be ignored. I agree it is very scary never-the-less, not knowing if the condition can be reversed or not is even worse. These symptoms could be a number of things. Please do not wait to get him seen. A dementia diagnosis of a specific kind will take time. It is not a one time doctor visit. If you need help with a check list of information that your doctor will need to help him assess your husband, send me another email and I will send you a form that is very helpful. It will help with anyone that is worried about their symptoms related to memory and thinking abilities.

Q: I am very troubled! I hired 2 carers but one is not doing the task I ask of her and the other one gets everything done. But my sister with middle stage Alzheimer’s loves the one that does nothing and thinks that carer is a family member, but is not so nice to the one who does what she is supposed to do. My children have mentioned I should pay attention to my sister’s response to people. I am confused. Any thoughts?

A: Although people with dementia may have delusions and accuse a loved one of many things, it is true what they are saying in their world. If you really think how misunderstandings happen to us, imagine how they are seeing things. For ex: If your sister says that a carer is a thief, “she takes things out my home all the time” and you know that the carer is not a thief. Still your sister is correct in her world. She watches that carer take laundry out, the trash out and maybe other stuff on routine business. Your sister is not able to connect the dots. However, your sister has the ability to sense if she is comfortable with someone or not. The carer that does nothing has built a better relationship with your sister. Both carers need to learn from each other. The one with the better relationship has the key to actually getting your sister to cooperate and be a part of the task rather than just getting it done. The other carer needs to work on her relationship toward your sister. Your children are wise, the carers just need another approach. Your sister wants to be involved with life and feel valued. We all do.

Online training support available at http://internationalcaregiversassociation.com/dementia-care-training.shtml

There is a schedule of classes and some offer CEU credits.

Senior Moment
Betty is aged 94 and she is angry and so she ‘phones the newspaper office in Manchester, loudly demanding to know where her Sunday edition was.

‘Ma’am,’ said the employee, ‘today is Saturday. The Sunday paper is not delivered until Sunday.’ There was a long pause on the other end of the phone, followed by a ray of recognition from Betty. ‘I’ll bet that’s why no one was in church today too.’

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