Social Work Services | Spring 2016 Newsletter


Confusing, complicated, exhausting, infuriating, isolating, and life-changing — just a few of the words that describe the experience of suffering from dementia, as well as the experience of caring for a person with the condition. Despite the commonalities, each individual’s experience is unique, with the potential to be as varied as the lives of each person who comprises the mélange that is New York City’s eight-plus million residents. So what do you do when...

Your wife has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and you both are struggling to understand and cope with what this means?

Your dad, who has dementia, is having increasing difficulty with tasks like taking medication, going shopping, and managing doctor’s appointments? You want to support his independence, but it is clear that he needs more assistance than you can provide.

You suspect that your neighbor may be suffering from dementia because she seems increasingly confused, often walking outside in her bathrobe or asking you for help with simple tasks like mailing a letter? What can you do? Your husband has been diagnosed with frontotemporal degeneration and you have young children who do not understand what is happening to their father? Your grandfather has been diagnosed with Lewy body dementia and continues to drive, despite having caused several accidents?

You provide around-the-clock care for your husband with Alzheimer’s disease and you rarely have a break? The stress is beginning to impact your emotional and physical wellbeing, but you do not have any time to take care of yourself.

Your mother has been living alone in her native country when you become aware that she is experiencing problems with her memory and thinking that are jeopardizing her safety? You suspect that she has dementia and your only option is to bring her to live with you in the United States, but wonder if there are medical services and social supports available to a non-citizen.

Your adult son with dementia has started to wander out of the house and, despite your best efforts, he manages to get out while you are in the bathroom or sleeping? How do you keep him safe while ensuring that you have time to take care of your needs?

You are beginning to understand that it is no longer safe for your sister with vascular dementia to live alone? Is it feasible for her to remain at home with care or should you consider moving her to residential facility?

Your family is struggling to care for your aunt with dementia, but no one can agree on what should be done? She has no legally-designated proxies, and each family member has a different opinion about what she needs, how her money should be spent, and who should be making these decisions.

The answers to these questions are not simple, and we cannot pretend that they are. This is why the Social Work Services team at CaringKind is best situated to help you navigate the emotional and the practical impact of dementia, because it is impossible to divorce the two. Our trained professionals provide individualized, in-depth guidance to help negotiate the challenges of living with and/or caring for someone with dementia. We counsel individuals and families by assisting in creating a plan of care, navigating the varied systems with which they come into contact, and developing strategies to manage the communication, behavior, and medical challenges they face.

Equally important, we work to support caregivers in caring for themselves, providing guidance to ensure that they have the physical, emotional, and financial capacity to continue their important work. Caring for a person with dementia cannot be done alone; it requires a system of support, and our Social Work Services team welcomes the opportunity to become part of your team. To be connected with one of our professionals, please call the 24-hour Helpline at 646-744-2900. Appointments are available in-person at our main Manhattan office or our satellite offices in Brooklyn and Queens, as well as by telephone or via email. In the course of your unique journey, there is never a wrong time to reach out.