Social Work Support
Receiving a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia can be a shock for both the person diagnosed and their family. People report many feelings including surprise, anger, anxiety, and uncertainty. Emory’s Cognitive Neurology Program has licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) with expertise in this field to help with both resources and counseling services.
Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care - As its name suggests, completion of this document allows an individual to provide directions regarding their health care in advance. It allows a person to identify who they wish to have make health care decisions if they cannot. You do not need an attorney or a notary to complete this document.
Elder Law Attorneys - Elder law attorneys handle issues related to asset protection, health care, long term care planning, financial powers of attorney, guardianship, conservatorship, Medicare, Medicaid, and other important matters. While it may seem premature to have these discussions, it’s recommended that one begins the process as soon as possible in order to have as many options as possible for asset protection and care down the road. When selecting an elder law attorney, it’s important to find someone who specializes in this area of the law.
Guardianship and Conservatorship - Guardianship is the appointment by the probate court of a person to make decisions for someone who does not have sufficient capacity to make or communicate significant responsible decisions concerning their health or safety. Conservatorship is similar but addresses finances only. Petitioning for guardianship and conservatorship can often take several months or more. An attorney is not required to petition for guardianship or conservatorship, but it is highly recommended.
Medicare - Medicare is a health care benefit provided by the Federal Government for most United States citizens ages 65 and older and some individuals who have been disabled for more than two years.
Georgia Medicaid - is a health care benefit provided by the State with some assistance from the Federal Government. There are many Medicaid programs in the state of Georgia, and they all require the recipient to have a low income and savings. Of note, Medicaid varies from state to state. One Georgia program, the Community Care Services Program (CCSP), can be helpful to some in helping to pay for companion care and/or adult day programs.
Aging Life Care Managers (Geriatric Care Managers) - Particularly for families who live at a distance or have complicated family situations, aging life care managers can be very helpful. These are professionals who help families and their older loved ones navigate health care decisions, such as deciding if and when to relocate to a residential facility, coordinating medical care, and being the ‘eyes and ears’ for a family members who cannot see their loved one as often as they’d like.
Adult Day Programs - When people with dementia begin to need additional stimulation and activities and/or when care-partners need additional assistance, it may time to consider an adult day program. These programs are more structured and supervised than traditional senior center programs.
Home Companions - Companion Care, also known as Private-Duty Care, Paid Caregivers or, sometimes, Sitters, is paid care to assist a patient with activities of daily living and/or light housekeeping. Companion Care is generally not covered by Medicare or other health insurance plans. It may be covered by a private long-term care policy. (Home Care is different from Home Health which is covered by Medicare.)
Living Options - A question that comes up for many living with mild cognitive impairment or dementia and their family members is what will happen when the person can no longer safely live alone. Some families successfully care for impaired members at home and many successfully place their relatives under the care of others. There is no single right or wrong plan that is appropriate for everyone, and many change their plan as circumstances change.
Questions about Driving - Many patients and family members have questions about when it is time to retire from driving. This can be a contentious subject. If you are concerned about your loved one’s driving and they aren’t yet ready to retire from driving, speak about it with your healthcare provider. A driving exam provided by a specially trained occupational therapist can be helpful.
Joining a group with people experiencing similar situations can be helpful for both those experiencing cognitive change and their loved ones. The Emory Cognitive Neurology program offers a variety of groups for our patients and their care partners, and there are also a number of community groups. There are different types of groups including educational, support and psychotherapy groups.