“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” – Margaret Mead

Who is caring for your loved one?

For anyone who is a caregiver, there usually comes a time when you need more help.

This can be a very difficult decision when thinking about leaving your loved one with a stranger.

Just going through the process of this decision can be excruciating.

I am writing about this topic because of an incident that one of my co-workers witnessed during a recent trip to her hairdresser. As she was leaving, she noticed an older woman who seemed scared and confused.

Being a memory care specialist, she was aware that the woman had dementia.

She approached her in a gentle manner, talked to her calmly, and tried to find out what was going on with her.

Slowly she was able to ascertain that the woman’s caregiver had left her alone and was late picking her up at the hairdresser.

My co-worker waited with the woman until the caregiver arrived. The woman was startled by the abruptness of the caregiver and refused to go with her.

My co-worker continued to talk with the woman and eventually discovered common ground.

They both had dogs.

With this information, she convinced the woman that she needed to go home, with the caregiver, and feed her dog.

Eventually the woman got into the car with the caregiver.

What a sad story this is. And if it had not been for my co-worker, this woman would have continued to be afraid.

As a caregiver, you must be vigilant knowing what to ask an agency, or individual, you might be considering hiring to care for your precious loved one.

  • Is the agency certified by Medicare and Medicaid? You need to know to plan finances.
  • Are the caregivers bonded and insured, either through an agency or independently?
  • What are their privacy practices? Ask for a copy of them.
  • Ask for an example of time when a caregiver had to be fired. What were the circumstances?
  • How does the agency respond to emergencies?
  • Ask for references.
  • Has the agency won any notable awards?
  • Will my loved one have the same person every time?
  • What if my loved one does not connect with the caregiver? Can I get another one?
  • Have your caregivers been trained in dementia care, and if so how are they trained? Do they have ongoing training?

If you are considering home care, call Memory Matters and let us help you be an informed caregiver.

Have you considered a day program for your love one? Memory Matters offers a variety of programs that are fun, engaging, and safe.

Before you say, “Oh she (or he) won’t do that,” talk to one of our dementia care specialists.

Call 843-842-6688 or visit memory-matters.org.

Karen Doughtie is assistant director of Memory Matters, serving Bluffton and Hilton Head. karen@memory-matters.org