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Featured Dementia CAREGiver - Laura

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​​Laura Draws on Dementia Training to Help Clients​

It happened so quickly. 

CAREGiver of the Month Laura Thomas was praying near a hospice client who had late-stage dementia and was near death. Suddenly, the client reached up and gently took Laura’s hand. He made eye contact and thanked Laura for everything she had done for him during their months together. “It surprised me because he was at the final stages of life,” said Laura, who works for the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise that serves the Northern Shenandoah Valley, including Winchester and 25 other communities. 

A day later, the client died, but Laura was not with him. However, Laura had comforting words for the client’s wife, who had always been upset with her husband because she felt he had given his CAREGivers a challenging time. The client’s wife explained that her husband’s behavior was not his true character because of the dementia. “I told his wife: ‘He died as a gentleman.’ It was a gift for me to tell her that. It was a great blessing for her,” Laura explained. 
Describing care for an Alzheimer’s or other dementia client, Laura said, “You have to have a detachment emotionally and just concentrate on helping them. You cannot get offended by anything they say or do. With hospice care, behavior can be so profound and yet sometimes so random and totally unexpected.”

CAREGivers such as Laura are among the reasons Home Instead Senior Care® of Winchester is an award-winning in-home senior-care franchise. Laura and other CAREGivers have completed the Home Instead Senior Care network’s Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias CARE: Changing Aging Through Research and Education® Training Program. 

CAREGivers who are trained in the CARE program have a passion to work with Alzheimer’s clients and receive ongoing training and testing to enhance their already outstanding care techniques. The Home Instead program offers a personal approach to taking care of seniors with Alzheimer’s disease at home – where 60 to 70 percent live, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. It is a unique program that has received acclaim and endorsements from experts. 

The program equips CAREGivers to provide the highest quality of customized care that includes:

Maintaining a safe environment
Encouraging engagement
Providing mind-stimulating activities
Supervising daily activities
Creating social interaction
Providing nutritious meals
Managing changing behaviors
Supporting the person’s family

CAREGivers can provide assistance with establishing a regular routine and restoring the simple pleasures of life, among the best non-medical treatments for the disease. “The training helped. It was really good, very interesting, and Home Instead Senior Care provides updated information about dementia. It was very informative,” Laura said.

Laura is available to help family members just as much as she assists their senior loved ones. “I helped the wife get some rest,” Laura said. “He was very irritable sometimes. He was challenging for CAREGivers, but one has to remember it is the dementia that is directing the behavior. On top of that, it was an end-of-life assignment. Sometimes prayer would give him the comfort when few other things could provide. I was happy to help in any way I could.”

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 540-722-8750 or apply online. For further information about our home care services, please visit Home Instead Senior Care​.​​​


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