Dementia Support Program

When someone in the family is diagnosed with dementia, it can be difficult to know what to do. That’s when Piedmont Healthcare’s Sixty Plus Services can be of great help. Its dementia support program coaches families and patients through the emotional, physical, and financial challenges of dementia, whether it’s caused by Alzheimer’s disease or another type of cognitive decline. “Ever since Sixty Plus started in 1987, our staff has been helping families come to terms with a diagnosis of dementia. We have many years of training and experience which allows us to create an individual care plan for each family we serve,” says Moira Keller LCSW, a social worker with the program.
 

The Referral Process

Patients and families can be referred to Sixty Plus Services for dementia support from any source. Family members can call, or primary care physicians can refer patients who they’re concerned about. Neurologists and neuropsychologists also contact Sixty Plus about patients who have recently been diagnosed with dementia so that family support can be provided.
 

Patient Assessments

After a patient has been referred, a social worker will gather information from the patient’s medical providers and family caregivers. The social worker may then schedule a home visit to learn more about the patient in his or her own environment. “There’s a direct flow of information between Sixty Plus, the patient’s primary care physician, and specialist doctors, such as neurologists,” Moira explains. “There’s always open communication among everyone on the patient’s Piedmont team so that we can offer the best assessment and treatment of the patient’s issues.”

 

Emotional Support

“Dementia can take a big toll on families,” Moira continues, “even causing the primary caregiver, whether it’s a spouse or adult child, to experience new physical symptoms of stress. We offer individual and family counseling as well as monthly caregiver support groups, all of which can ease family anxiety.”

 

Financial Resources

The financial implications of a dementia diagnosis are potentially enormous. “It’s expensive, whether you hire help in your home, send your family member to an adult day program, or consider a dementia unit in an assisted living facility or nursing home, “ Moira says. “Many families wonder how they will be able to afford the costs.” Sixty Plus connects families with elder law attorneys and public assistance programs that may be able to help.