After Diagnosis, What Happens Next?

A dementia diagnosis brings mixed emotions for a family. It’s a relief to know exactly what’s wrong, and to have a name for the issues at hand. On the other hand, the family is faced with a whole new set of problems that they’ve never encountered before.

Fortunately, there are many services available to families in Tucson and Pima County that can help families before, during and after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or other dementia.

One-On-One Counseling for Caregivers in Tucson and Pima County

Counselors and care managers are available to work with you one-on-one to make a plan after a dementia diagnosis. Pima Council on Aging offers free consultations for caregivers to create a care plan and come up with solutions to common issues before they arise.

Care Management for Dementia in Tucson and Pima County

“Care management” refers to having a social worker on call who knows the family, plans a course of care, and is available to help with issues as they arise. Whereas a family is encountering a dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diagnosis for the first time, a care manager has worked with many families and can help handle issues before they arise.

This can be especially helpful if the rest of the family doesn’t live in Tucson or Pima County. For example, if an older adult with dementia gets admitted to a hospital in Tucson, but the rest of the family lives elsewhere, then a care manager can go to the hospital to advocate on behalf of the family, and so that the older adult sees a familiar face.

Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Southern Arizona (JFCS) offers a care management service that creates a comprehensive care plan, and can also help coordinate paid caregivers and other services to help older adults with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s. The Select Care team consists of skilled social workers and case managers.

Support for Caregivers of Family Members With Dementia

Caregivers need support, too. Tucson and surrounding Pima County offer many support groups for families affected by a dementia diagnosis. Many of these are run by the Alzheimer’s Association or the American Parkinson’s Disease Association.

During COVID-19, many support groups are still operating and meeting virtually. See the listings in AskWyse for more information.

Dementia Respite Care: Giving Yourself the Time You Need

There are also organizations that are there to help give you a break. Respite care gives caregivers a few free hours to meet up with friends, shop, or go to the gym.

Different Types of Respite Care for Dementia

There are two types of respite care available:

  1. Day programs
  2. At-home care

A day program is a dedicated space where you can take family with dementia during the day if they can’t be left alone and you need a few hours to yourself. They have dedicated, trained staff and planned activities.

During COVID-19, the only Adult Day Program operating in Tucson and Pima County is:

The other option for dementia respite care is when a paid caregiver comes to your home. You canĀ  hire caregivers through an agency for respite care. PCOA also provides respite care to eligible families.

Search Wyse for all of the organizations providing at-home care:

Soon, Pima Council on Aging will launch a new program that will allow families to hire their own friends and neighbors to provide respite care. Wyse will have more information on that program as soon as it starts.

Eating Well With Dementia: Meals & Groceries

If your loved one starts to need some extra help with basic tasks around the house due to dementia, you might want to start thinking about getting them help with activities of daily living like meal preparation and cleaning.

Local stores and national chains offer grocery delivery services that can help cut out difficult trips to the grocery store:

Meal prep can be difficult or time-consuming for people with dementia. You can order from meal delivery services that make it easy. The county provides free meal delivery services. You can also order from a variety of vendors that provide gourmet fresh and frozen meals.

Services for Older Adults in Tucson and Pima County

On AskWyse, you can find more services for older adults, including more support groups, social activities, financial assistance, and caregivers. All listings include updated information on which services are functioning during COVID-19, and what measures they are taking to prevent the spread of coronavirus. To search for more older adult services in Tucson and Pima County, go to AskWyse below.