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Getting Started

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Supporting a Couple When One Has Dementia

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Getting Started

This case study focuses on the caregiver of a spouse diagnosed with dementia.  Since dementia is a neurocognitive degenerative disease, the caregiver is frequently faced with the spouse’s continuously evolving changes.  Issues around accepting help and appropriate care environments are common. This teaching strategy helps the student to understand these issues, and to identify resources that can help with the process.  In addition there is a practical element to the activities of this teaching strategy as the student looks at the cost analysis of the care required based on function and needs.  It enhances the students’ human flourishing and spirit of inquiry. 

Case Study: John and Anna Phillips 

Hello my name is John Phillips. Actually Dr. John Phillips, but I haven’t really gone by that in quite some time. I was a surgeon for almost fifty years; general surgeon. They didn’t have all of those specialties like they do now. I really loved my work and I was quite good at it. I really miss it, but I guess I have my hands full taking care of my wife Anna. We have been married for sixty two years. Yup- 62 out of my 87 years I have been married to the same woman. We met when I was a surgical resident and she was the prettiest nurse on the floor. Yes it has been a good 62 years with my Anna. She really took care of things; took care of me. She was a great organizer; always knew the birthdays and anniversary dates. Not so much anymore though. She started having memory problems a few years ago. At first I was the only one that noticed. Now it is getting worse. Sometimes I have to remind her to change her clothes and she hollers at me when I correct her when she is confused. I worry about what the future brings. We moved to this continuing care retirement community and gave up our big home. We live in the independent living section, but I wonder how long I am going to be able to manage Anna at home. She says no when I ask her it we can hire somebody to come in a few hours a day. I had to admit it sometimes I am embarrassed by what she says and does. I know it is terrible to say that but she just isn’t the same Anna anymore. 

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