Elizabeth Watkins lives in rural West Virginia and is caring for her husband, Roy, who has dementia. She wants to talk about the issues involved in caring for him and seek help, but feels isolated because of her geographic location. Her husband is constantly with her, except for short periods when she goes to the store. She contacted the closest Area Agency on Aging (45 minutes away) to get more information on caregiving and dementia. She was offered an in-person assessment but Elizabeth felt that the agency was too far away to travel to and she was uneasy leaving her husband alone. Where should Elizabeth’s assessment take place?
The simple answer is: in a private setting that is convenient to the caregiver. In the case of Elizabeth, the social worker suggested conducting the assessment over the phone right away and scheduling a visit to their home in three weeks, at a time when Roy usually is napping. Experts generally agree that having a home visit be part of the assessment process is a good idea, in order for the person conducting the assessment to understand the home environment. But sometimes that is not practical.
Be Flexible & Creative! Offer Assessments:
Things to Keep in Mind:
When caregivers would like to have the assessment conducted separately from the care recipient, it may be a good idea to offer respite for caregivers who cannot leave their loved one unattended.