Mrs. M is a resident of Montcalm County and participates in the Alzheimer’s Association – Greater Michigan Chapter’s CarePartner in Touch telephone support program. The CarePartner In Touch program provides on-going caregiver support, by a Masters level social worker, to caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease or other related dementia’s.
Initially, we were contacted by Mrs. M’s daughter who was seeking support for herself in an effort to be more helpful to her mother who was caring for her father with Alzheimer’s disease. The daughter in turn encouraged her mother to become involved with the CarePartner In Touch program because of the benefits she had experienced through regular contact with the program’s social worker. Through her daughter’s encouragement, Mrs. M agreed to regular phone appointments with the social worker and has remained involved with the program since 2007.
Over the past three years, Mrs. M’s goal has been to keep her husband at home for the remainder of his life. At one point, he was placed in a nursing home for approximately three months. Through the continued support of the CarePartner In Touch program and collaborative efforts with other community resources, Mrs. M’s husband was able to return home. Her care giving journey has, and continues to have, its challenges. As her husband’s dementia progresses, she is often faced with the difficult behaviors frequently associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The support she received from the CarePartner In Touch program not only helps her develop skills to manage the behaviors, but also provides the emotional support needed to help her continue to achieve her goal of keeping her husband at home, even during the most difficult times. Through the support of the CarePartner In Touch program, she has also learned how important it is to take care of herself and that there are other community services that can assist her, like respite programs, that allow her to have a break from her 24/7 care giving responsibilities. Like many caregivers, Mrs. M puts her own emotional, physical and medical needs aside in order to focus her attention on her husband’s needs. As a result of her regular contact with the CarePartner In Touch social workers, she has been able to understand the need for her to stay healthy if she plans to continue to take care of her husband at home. On more than one occasion, Mrs. M would have neglected attending to personal medical issues if not for the encouragement and education provided by the CarPartner social worker.
Most caregivers do not recognize themselves as caregivers and roughly 60% of older caregivers die before the person they are caring for. The support given to caregivers by programs like the CarePartner In Touch program is one way of providing support that helps both the caregiver and the care recipient.
For more information about the CarePartner In Touch telephone support program and other services and programs offered by the Alzheimer’s Association – Greater Michigan Chapter, please call us at 1-800-272-3900 or view our website at www.alz.org/gmc.