Geri-Options offers a pathway to assist families in Denton County who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. We offer guidance, information, and support at all stages of cognitive decline. Caring for a person with dementia is difficult and stressful and can lead to caregiver burnout, depression and health issues. Planning for care and developing knowledge about the disease are keys to management.
The Alzheimer’s Association reports:
- Another American develops Alzheimer’s disease every 69 seconds. It is estimated that 5.4 million people have Alzheimer’s disease.
- There are 14.9 million unpaid caregivers –family and friends providing 17 billion hours of care.
- More than 60% of Alzheimer’s or dementia caregivers rate the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high and one-third report symptoms of depression.
- “Early diagnosis provides the best opportunities for treatment, support and future planning” Alzheimer’s Association.
Memory loss is only one symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Review the following warning signs provided by the Alzheimer’s Association. Check to see if your loved one is exhibiting any of these symptoms. If so, consult a physician for a specific diagnosis.
Symptoms/early warning signs of dementia
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or during leisure activities
- Confusion with time and place
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality
- Assessment of current care management needs based on the staging of cognitive decline
- Development of a care plan for now and in the future
- Referrals to health care professionals, memory assessment centers, attorneys and financial professionals
- Referrals to appropriate resources to ease caregiver burden at home such as caregiving agencies, home health care, activity groups/respite services, educational programs, and caregiver support groups
- Assistance with placement in assisted living communities, residential care homes, or memory care residences
- Assistance with understanding dementia, associated behaviors, and communication techniques
- On-going care management monitoring services and support to family caregivers
Recommends Books and Resources:
- Alzheimer’s Association
- Creating Moments of Joy for the Person with Alzheimer’s or Dementia by Jolene Brackey
- The 36 Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementing Illnesses, and Memory Loss in Later Life by Nancy L. Mace, M.A., and Peter V. Rabins, M.D., M.P.H.
- Dementia: Loving Care with a Therapeutic Benefit by Peggy Watson, M.S., CCC-SLP, and Nancy Shadowens, M.S., CCC-SLP
Resources for Support and Education and Activity in Denton County
Also continuing Geri Sams’ legacy, Eileen Short leads several community support programs initiated by Geri-Options:
Alzheimer’s Association: Caregiver’s Support Group facilitated by Eileen Short. It meets on the last Thursday of each month at First Baptist Church, 1100 Malone, Denton, Texas from 10 AM-11:30 AM. Another nearby support group meets at the Lewisville Senior Center on the First Thursday at 10:00 AM located at 1950 South Valley Parkway. Call the Alzheimer’s Association Helpline 24 hours a day at (800) 272 3900 for information about educational programs, services, and additional support groups.
Stepping Stones: Stepping Stones is an occupational therapy based group for persons with Alzheimer’s or other dementias and their family caregivers. Texas Woman’s College of Occupational Therapy facilitates the client group with graduate occupational therapy students and community volunteers who assist clients on a one-on-one basis as they participate in many adult activities including music, crafts, games, and socialization in a safe, nurturing environment. Eileen Short provides a family support group simultaneously with the client activity group
2 Step Café: This group meets at Egg & I in Denton on the 3rd Monday of every month at noon. This provides an opportunity for the family caregiver and person with Alzheimer’s to have an informal, comfortable meal with others who are sharing a similar journey.
If you are interested in knowing more about these programs and whether your loved one would be a candidate, you may contact Eileen Short, LCSW, at 940 458-9784.
If you are interested in attending the Alzheimer’s Association Support Group on the last Thursday of each month from 10 AM to 11:30 AM, just come by and join our very supportive, educational and caring group.
Additional services and resources are available through Geri-Options.