There are many dementia specialists in the West Michigan area that provide dementia services, but it is often hard to understand and coordinate all the available options. Care management services are one way to help with the overwhelming amount of information available. Several agencies that offer care management are Area Agency on Aging of West Michigan, Senior Neighbors, and Reliance Community Care Partners. A care or case manager helps to assess what types of needs an individual has and recommend and connect to services in the area that would meet those needs. Many rural areas in Michigan also offer these services through their county's Commission on Aging.
In addition, many primary care physician offices offer care management services. These care managers also help to connect patients to services and may help to manage long term chronic conditions.
Furthermore, being able to keep track of appointments for yourself or a loved one can also be a challenge. One way to do this is to get a large print calendar or planner where all events can be written down. This can be a tool for both the individual living with dementia and their caregivers. It helps all involved in the individual’s care to be able to see what appointments and events may be going on. It can also help alleviate anxiety from the person living with dementia from having to keep asking caregivers about their appointments or worrying that they will forget to attend.
Making sure that multiple specialists are communicating between each other is also helpful in coordination of care. This is especially true if an individual is seeing numerous health care providers. Allowing providers to share information helps to promote better care and makes sure important things don’t get missed. Advocating for yourself or your loved one with dementia is important if you don’t feel you are getting all the answers that you need.
If you notice several of the signs of memory loss in someone you know, the best way to help is to first have a conversation with that person about your concerns. Consider taking the following steps to manage and thrive during this time of uncertainty.