By Christi M. Lero, MSW, LCSW, CSW-G, Therapist, Hospice & Palliative Care Social Worker
I have seen it time and time again in my work as a hospice and palliative care social worker. The similarities between the person with dementia and their caregiver are clear. They will likely both forget my name and what I was there to see them for. Sometimes this happens before I leave. They may not be able to put their thoughts into words but will communicate their confusion, pain, or feelings of being overwhelmed by the look in their eyes. Both have difficulty understanding and expressing their emotions. Caregivers can become invisible second patients.
Caregivers are “The Invisible Second Patient”
Caregivers Frequently Experience the Following Hardships:
Having to be Constantly Vigilant
As the needs of the person living with dementia change, so will the needs of the caregiver. The less independent someone with dementia becomes, the more they rely on their caregiver. For example, they may rely on their caregiver for food preparation, and removing rugs from the floor for trip hazards. They may also rely on them for things like lifting for bathing and dressing, and walking. Their caregiver has to be constantly vigilant. They have to pay and attention to slight changes in ability like swallowing or speech.
The Need for Routine
The Need for Support
A Fear of Asking for Help
How We Can Help Caregivers:
Begin Counseling for Caregivers in Columbia, MO
- Contact our therapy office to speak to a care coordinator,
- Schedule a free in-person consultation meeting with me,
- Learn useful self-care skills so you can care for the person you love.
Other Services Offered at Aspire Counseling
At our Mid-Missouri mental health clinic, we believe healing begins when you look past hurts, current obstacles and future worries directly in the eye and can confidently say, “I’ve got this.” Therefore, our caring counselors provide a variety of mental health services designed to give our clients the tools they need to achieve emotional wellness. Our counseling services include counseling for caregivers, counseling for chronic illness, postpartum counseling, grief and loss therapy, counseling for teens, counseling for college students, counseling for adults, trauma and PTSD therapy, EMDR therapy, counseling for sexual assault and rape, anxiety therapy, counseling for depression, LGTBQ affirming counseling services, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Additionally, our blog features information on a variety of mental health topics from our wonderful counselors. To learn more about our therapy services, please contact our Columbia, MO counseling office!
About the Author
Christi Lero is a hospice social worker, helps do research on ways to better support caregivers of cancer &/or hospice patients and provides individual therapy to clients at Aspire Counseling. She specializes in helping during moments of major life transitions. For instance, she enjoys helping people move through grief, find hope while providing care for a family member with a chronic illness and helping moms transition into being a parent. Christi provides a safe space and support while you explore your feelings & values as you find a new path forward.