In the early days of the journey, much of the challenge of dementia is in figuring out the everyday stuff of life. Doctors are great for medical issues, but they may not be available to sit and brainstorm about how to deal with legal and financial matters, what to do about problematic dementia behaviors, or how to ensure safety while still providing quality of life. I’ve found that for those kinds of questions, doctors are not the best resource.
Books and the internet are invaluable, but it takes time to do all that reading, and sometimes you need an answer now.
Private dementia-care consultants can address specific needs and concerns, but first you have to find one. I was lucky enough to meet with someone locally; her $75 per hour fee was a bargain for the help she provided.
For a no-cost option (in California), there are ombudsmen for all sorts of senior-related issues including long-term care concerns. I’ve heard good things about them from other people, but after leaving about a dozen messages without a call back, I gave up. Maybe you’ll have better luck.
In my experience, the most informative, immediate and generous resource around is the people who work in assisted living communities.
The assisted living communities in my area offer free seminars on navigating the ins and outs of assisting aging parents; they also have a lot of helpful information about dementia. And although the programs are offered through their marketing departments, the classes I’ve attended have not been sales presentations in disguise. Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but I have found these care-giving professionals to be fonts of knowledge, support and encouragement.
If you have suggestions about other resources you’ve found to be helpful, please let me know. I continue to be hungry for information, ideas and inspiration!
p.s. Let me know if you need specifics about any of the resources I mentioned.