Help for Alzheimer’s Patients: A Class for Caregivers

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A home health company in Luzerne County will soon be offering free classes for people who need a little guidance caring for an Alzheimer's patient.

Newswatch 16 spoke with Rev. Mary Laufer of Kingston, who has been taking care of her 90-year-old mother for 16 years.  She says it's been a challenge particularly because her Mom wants to sleep all day and be up all night.

"Part of that wanting to sleep in the daytime is not trusting people when I'm not there, being very leery," said Rev. Laufer.

She has help from workers at a company called Home Instead Senior Care, in Luzerne.  Owner Alyssa Maria says Home Instead has provided non-medical in-home care to hundreds of seniors since opening nine years ago.

"Our caregivers are trained for managing difficult behaviors and increasing client engagement, two of the biggest problems you face when you're taking care of a loved one," Maria told us.

Home Instead is about to start classes specifically for caregivers and loved ones of Alzheimer's and dementia patients.  The program will start in the fall and be free of charge, focusing on what company officials call a "unique method of care."  Participants will learn how to incorporate a Life Journal, basically a record of details of a senior's life, past and present.

Maria says when dealing with Alzheimer's disease, a senior's comfort level with his or her caregiver- family or otherwise- is critical.

"Not everybody knows everything about Grandma.  A lot of things have been forgotten over the years," she points out.  "What type of things does she like?  Foods?  What television shows is she interested in right now?

Rev. Laufer is already signed up for the course.  She thinks it will be very helpful, both for her and anybody else who doesn't know where to start when it comes to caring for a loved one.  

"It's difficult when somebody's coming in, on the days I have to be somewhere, to try and tell them a bit about Mom if they don't know anything about Mom," said Rev. Laufer.

For more information about the class, you can call Home Instead Senior Care at 570-714-4260.  There's also a boiled-down version of the course available now, if you'd prefer not to wait until the fall.