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Home Care Expert Insights

In Conversation with Julie Gala to Bring Her Insights on Supporting Dementia Caregivers

Assisting those who care for individuals grappling with dementia is an essential facet of comprehensive home care. The responsibilities of caregiving for dementia patients often encompass multifaceted challenges, spanning emotional, physical, and mental realms. Recognizing and addressing these unique difficulties faced by caregivers is crucial in ensuring the well-being of both the patients and their dedicated caregivers. Tailored support systems and resources play a pivotal role in alleviating the strains inherent in caregiving, enabling caregivers to navigate their roles with increased resilience and efficacy.

Understanding the intricate needs of these caregivers not only enhances the quality of care provided to dementia patients but also acknowledges the invaluable contribution and sacrifices made by these individuals in preserving the dignity and comfort of those they care for.

To shed some light on the same, we interviewed a home care industry expert to bring her perspective on caregiver support.

Expert QA session with Julie Gala

Who Did We Interview?

Julie Gala is an adept healthcare leader specializing in dementia care within skilled nursing and senior living. A pioneer in telepractice and virtual health education, she excels in skill-building gamification and innovative therapy practices. As Senior Director of Clinical Success at RESTORE skills, she mentors Clinical Fellows and is a PAC Certified Dementia Trainer.

Let’s get started with knowing what our expert thinks of the home care industry:

Question 1: What, in your opinion, can caregivers do to support seniors with dementia?

Never stop learning. Those living with dementia may follow a typical disease profession, but they will not experience it the same. The more education and training care partners can obtain, the more confident they will become in caring for their loved one experiencing brain change.

Question 2: Do dementia patients need to make lifestyle changes to minimize the impact?

Similar to normal aging persons, a focus on wellness is imperative/ physical, cognitive, psychosocial, and spiritual wellness improves residents’ quality of life while maintaining engagement in routines and familiar hobbies/interests.

Question 3: How should family members and caregivers communicate with dementia patients?

It’s important to know the person’s preserved abilities, such as verbal vs nonverbal and repetitive language. Offering visuals with spoken language greatly impacts the person’s potential to understand and maintain engagement.

Remember that if a person does not respond immediately, it does not mean they didn’t hear you. Instead, allow for increased response time (even if we’re the one who is uncomfortable in silence) vs. assuming you need to increase your volume and repeat yourself. No matter what state the person is in, they should always be communicated to as an adult and not as a child.

Question 4: Do caregivers and family members need to take certain steps to make the elderly’s house dementia friendly?

Absolutely yes. As a person experiences brain change, they are no longer in control of their safety awareness. Families and loved ones are responsible for maintaining the person’s safety through environmental modifications, signs, or moving items that could be hazardous out of sight. Remember that the person’s visual fields and perceptions diminish when setting up safe spaces to avoid falls and other injuries.

Question 5: What advice do you give caregivers dealing with dementia in older adults?

Be prepared for the unprepared and take the time to know the person beyond the diagnosis. That is when you will learn how best to communicate, engage, and optimize the quality of life for the person with dementia.

In Conclusion

Supporting dementia caregivers is pivotal for their well-being and effectiveness in providing care. Offering access to educational resources and training plays a crucial role in empowering caregivers to handle the challenges of dementia care confidently. Additionally, facilitating support groups or counseling sessions enables them to share experiences, seek advice, and alleviate stress collectively.

Providing care options becomes essential, granting caregivers vital breaks to rejuvenate. Emphasizing self-care practices and raising awareness about caregiver burnout helps sustain their mental and physical health. Establishing a comprehensive support network and resources aids dementia caregivers in their invaluable role.

Want to contribute to our expert insights for the 'Home Care Q/A' series?

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Want to contribute to our expert insights for the 'Home Care Q/A' series?

Contact Us

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