Assembling a Dementia Caregiver Toolkit

Why are Life Care Planning Law Firms an essential part of any dementia caregiver's toolkit?

If you’re caring for an elderly loved one with dementia, you already know that it takes a special person and a unique set of skills to make life comfortable for a person living with the disease. When it comes to caring for your loved one without sacrificing your own well-being in the process, having the right systems and support in place can make all the difference. Many dementia caregivers create a “toolkit” of resources to make the journey easier.

If you’re interested in creating your own dementia caregiver toolkit, one of the best places to start is with a phone call to your local Life Care Planning Law Firm. How is working with a Life Care Planning Law Firm the ultimate caregiver’s power tool?

It starts with education. There’s no manual for dementia caregivers; most of what you learn will be by trial and error. Buying books on the subject can help the learning process. When Someone You Know Has Dementia and The 36-Hour Day are two good options. But reading takes time, and then there’s the challenge of applying what you’ve learned.

Working with a Life Care Planning Law Firm can expedite the process, according to Laura Buck, R.N., Care Coordinator at Clinkscales Elder Law Practice, P.A., a Life Care Planning Law Firm based in Hays, Kansas. “When I first start working with a Life Care Plan client, I talk at length with family caregivers to find out what they know about dementia,” said Laura. “The education process starts from there.”

Laura tailors her teachings, helping caregivers understand the natural progression of the disease and what to expect along the way. “Education helps minimize the shock of the unexpected,” noted Laura, who worked as a Registered Nurse in a variety of settings before becoming a care coordinator in 2017. “It’s also validating. I want caregivers to know that they’re not alone. What they’re seeing is normal.”

Learning how to interact with a dementia patient is a major hurdle for most families. “We have to live in the dementia patient’s world instead of expecting them to live in ours,” counseled Laura. “Until family members accept this, there’s always a struggle. My job is to help the family understand that their loved one is still there. It just that their brain has changed.”

Dementia caregivers inevitably discover that it’s difficult to shoulder the burden alone without falling prey to illness, depression or burnout. Help can come from family members or friends, or from paid professionals or volunteers. For many caregivers, however, asking for help isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially when you’re not sure what services are needed or where to find them.

That’s where a Life Care Planning Law Firm—and their deep connections to community resources—can be so valuable. “We’re plugged into an extensive network of providers such as home care companies, the Alzheimer’s Association, and caregiver support groups,” said Laura. “We connect family caregivers to these resources quickly, which helps to minimize the fatigue, burnout, stress, and overwhelm that is so typical among people caring for dementia patients.”

For Laura, working with a Life Care Planning Law Firm is a great way to supercharge a dementia caregiver’s toolkit. “Dementia is a physical condition that has dire legal and financial consequences,” said Laura. “A Life Care Planning Law Firm gives you a team of professionals that can help you deal with all of it, which is way better than trying to piece together the support from different providers.”