Alzheimer’s and Hospice/Palliative Care

Teri Sellers

The PebbleCreek Alzheimer’s Support Group is available to all residents who have a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or any related dementia. The group meets twice a month. For more information or to join the group, please contact me.

Hospice is a word that many people are afraid of. Hospice is a service that is available to most people as a Medicare or insurance benefit, and most hospices also provide palliative care.

Our support group is blessed to have Sylvia Butler with Hospice of the West as my co-facilitator.

We both have extensive knowledge and experience with Alzheimer’s and dementia on a personal, as well as professional, basis.

I want to share the basics of palliative care and hospice care with you as it relates to people suffering with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Palliative care is a philosophy of care that is often referred to as supportive care for treatment of symptoms associated with a serious illness, in addition to psychological, social, and spiritual concerns. The goal for palliative care is to align a patient’s treatment with their individual goals, expectations, and beliefs. It is for individuals who have a serious illness but are not yet ready for hospice. It is often the combination of these medical conditions that poses an extra burden on the caregiver and the patient. That is the time to seek palliative services.

Hospice care is generally the next step after palliative care. So many people are afraid of hospice because they think it means that they are choosing death for their loved one. Hospice care means choosing to focus on living as fully and comfortably as possible during the time you have left, which typically means that their prognosis is six months. People can and do sometimes live longer than six months, and may even graduate out of hospice care with disease and symptom remission.

Hospice care is provided during the final stages of life by an experienced team of physicians, registered nurses, certified nurse aides, medical social workers, and trained volunteers. Although it may be difficult to shift your focus from seeking a cure to choosing comfort care as the best alternative, numerous studies have shown that patients enrolled in hospice services live longer with better symptom control and pain management than non-hospice patients. The support provided to family and caregivers helps lessen the physical and emotional challenges they are facing at this time of life.

Our group has resumed our monthly social breakfast, and now we are happy to announce that we are also resuming our support group meetings. Information on the meeting dates and times is shared with the group via our dedicated email.

You are not alone. Please feel free to call me, Teri Sellers at 602-793-0299. I will share helpful resources and information with you and add you to our email list. Your information is always safe and confidential, and the benefits are priceless.