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How Hospice and ComfortCare Support Spouses of Seniors With Dementia

ComfortCare 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 ComfortCare providers are brought into the situation, they provide much-needed assistance with providing care, companionship, spiritual guidance and grief support.

How ComfortCare 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 ComfortCare 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. ComfortCare 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 ComfortCare can help, please call ComfortCare Homes of Wichita at (316) 444-0532.

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