A program to support family members of those living with dementia
More than a third of Hope Hospice and Home Health’s patients are living with some degree of dementia. Dementia causes a decline of mental and behavioral abilities that interferes with a person’s daily functioning. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but not the only one. Most patients with dementia will experience some form of memory loss in addition to a decline in other abilities such as communication skills, reasoning and motor skills.
While dementia can be difficult and frightening for the patient, it can also be very challenging for family members. Watching a loved one begin to struggle with day-to-day activities, such as bathing, dressing and eating, is not easy. Family members may also find it difficult to interact in meaningful ways with their loved one.
Hope’s Living with Dementia program gives family members the tools and support to manage the effects of dementia. We help families understand what dementia is and find ways to more effectively communicate with and care for their loved one.
Knowing what to say and do to improve interaction
It’s not always easy to communicate and interact with a loved one living with dementia. They can often seem distant and disengaged. When you change the way you communicate, you may have more success reaching them. To help, our volunteers can meet with family members to gather information about the patient such as:
- Past experiences and important memories
- Favorite things, likes and dislikes
- Key family members
- Words and situations to avoid
We create an “All About Me” report and poster to share with Hope team members and other visitors. This information gives visitors and caregivers personal prompts that may help them to engage the person living with dementia.
This approach has resulted in many patients responding and interacting once again with the people around them. To learn more or to become a volunteer, contact the volunteer director at (925) 829-8770.
Dementia support for caregivers
We offer community classes through the Family Caregiver Education Series. These sessions will help anyone who cares for someone with dementia to:
- Understand how patients with dementia communicate their needs and desires through other behaviors
- Assess, interpret and respond to their loved ones to foster an improved quality of life
- Develop strategies for handling behaviors such as wandering, delusions and aggression
If you would like to receive more tools to help you interact with and care for someone who has dementia, register for an upcoming class.
Please join our volunteer team. Our Living with Dementia program is growing, and we need the support of volunteers to deliver the very best care to patients. You can learn more about our volunteer program by visiting our FAQ page or contacting the volunteer director at (925) 829-8770. When you’re ready to serve, fill out a volunteer application.