Dementia is one of the most challenging chronic conditions for individuals and their caregivers. More than 15 million family members in the U.S. provide care for people with dementia. Living well with this condition is important to both groups — and extremely difficult to achieve in practice.
On Feb. 13, Kaiser Health News hosted an informative and important discussion about improving care and services for people with dementia and supporting their caregivers. It was opportunity to learn from experts in the field about the challenges and difficulties facing the patient, the caregiver, the community and policymakers. Topics included understanding the stages of dementia from a medical, social, psychological and environmental perspective (it’s not just memory loss); how to find help; how to manage difficult behaviors; and understanding medications for people with dementia.
Kaiser Health News’ “Navigating Aging” columnist Judith Graham led a discussion with the following panelists:
- Nancy A. Hodgson, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, University of Pennsylvania, an expert on dementia care and end-of-life care for people with dementia;
- Helen Kales, M.D., University of Michigan, a geriatric psychiatrist and expert on dementia care and mental health issues;
- Yvonne Latty, BFA, MA, a journalist and professor, who is dealing with her mother’s Alzheimer’s;
- Katie Maslow, MSW, Gerontological Society of America, an expert on improving care for people with dementia and supporting their caregivers; and
- Mary L. Radnofsky, Ph.D., a former professor who lives independently since being diagnosed 12 years ago with dementia and is an advocate for people with dementia