Do you know if your home is safe for someone requiring special care, or with dementia? My name is Brian Spitz, president of Big State Home Buyers. And today we're talking with Cyndee Frey, a specialist in people that need care and people with dementia.
So tell us a little bit about that topic. How can people know whether or not their home is safe for someone who needs, whether it's an aging senior or someone who just needs special care, because it's not always a senior that gets dementia?
Cyndee: There are really some very basic things that are good for anyone. But it's removing obstacles. Not having stacks of things. Small rugs can be a problem. Looking at the function of the stove and where steps are in the home. Are the steps covered in carpet? If the individual has to use a walker or a chair, is it maneuverable? Is there enough room in the home for it to be maneuverable for them?
So it's almost like looking at the home as if you have a young person, a very small person, like a child. How you would create a safe environment for a child is much the same as we'd create a safe environment for someone who is older, requiring a lot of assistance.
Brian: And this is something that you do for people. You assess their properties. How often would you say, how much of your business is assessing a home for someone like this?
Cyndee: It's probably a little less than twenty-five percent of my business.
The assessment often becomes a part of a bigger picture. What I do is helping families understand dementia and how to communicate with someone who has dementia. So when you are creating a safe environment in the home, part of that is learning how to communicate differently, so that you can work with the person who requires that assistance.
Brian: And these things, I imagine, come on gradually. The extra needs, the dementia and/or other similar conditions that require special care. At what point is it appropriate for someone to seek out? I mean, what are the signs that, if I had someone who needed this kind of care, what signs should I be looking for that it's time to call someone in your field?
Cyndee: That's a very individualized personal question. When I talk with spouses and adult children who are taking care of a parent, it really depends on what they feel capable of doing.
When someone reaches a point where they are incontinent. They're not going to the bathroom any more. That's when some spouses say, I can't do that anymore. I need to find a placement. Sometimes there are behavioral problems that arise. If someone becomes aggressive, whether that's verbally or physically aggressive, that's time to seek out having them live someplace else, where you are safe and they will be safe.
And sometimes, depending on what is causing the dementia, the illness, people may require more physical care than someone with just dementia. And with seniors, if a spouse is unable to take of somebody physically, then they need to look at either bringing someone into the home or moving someplace else. And often that's a better option, is moving into another location where help is there 24/7.
Brian: It's got to be a really difficult decision, especially for a spouse.
And so, what you do is do you go in and help them really see the situation for what it is or do most people already come to understand that they can't do it anymore? Another personal question.
Cyndee: It is. And it really varies. When I work with spouses, it's very different than working with adult children. Sometimes adult children are still working and trying to take care of a parent, so their list of what I can still do and what I need help with is different than a spouse.
Brian: And, you know, you hear all the time about the importance of taking care of the caregiver. And so I think that's something that gets lost. I mean, I've read about it, but I know that's really important because if you've got nothing to give, than you can't be of service to anyone. Tell me a little bit about your opinion there.
Cyndee: The statistics of caregivers dying before the person they're caring for are very high.
Read more: http://www.bigstatehomebuyers.com/assessing-a-home-for-safety-special-care-for-family-members-and-seniors/