Memory Care Clinic Fills Need for Holistic Approach to Dementia

HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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If a memory or cognitive disorder is diagnosed, brief, focused followup visits to the clinic, usually every six months, will be scheduled. After assessing additional questionnaires and performing different exams, medication adjustments and referrals to appropriate services will be given if needed.


The individualized care plan may include consultation or ongoing care with one or more multidisciplinary services. Baptist Home Care Services offers home safety assessments, person-centered program development to maximize independence and function, condition- specific education and information and social workers to provide care plan coordination with other support services as needed. Physical therapy with exercise programs are designed to improve mobility, balance and coordination so patients can continue performing their roles at home and in the community. Occupational therapy improves safety, judgment, behavioral issues and stress management.


Education and support are critical parts of the treatment. Freeman coordinates community resources and services as appropriate for the patient, family and/or caregiver. Patients and their family and loved one(s) are referred to a number of educational opportunities through- out the community.


“The main thing that sets us apart is we focus on support to the caregivers,” said Freeman. “That’s my job as a social worker, to help provide emotional support to the families.”


Additionally, patients can choose to participate in clinical trials, either at the Memory Care Clinic or other centers. “We are lucky enough to be chosen to participate in Alzheimer’s disease research opportunities looking at disease-modifying therapies,” said Freeman.


If you are interested in making an appointment for yourself or a loved one with the Memory Care Clinic, call Baptist Health Medical Group Neurology at (859) 260-4330. Most major insurance policies, Medicare and Medicaid are accepted.

Memory disorders are frightening and frustrating not only for the person suffering from them, but also their loved ones. Fortunately, Lexington has a unique program to help patients and their families and caregivers.


More than five years ago, Greg Cooper, M.D., Ph.D., east regional president for Baptist Health Medical Group, saw the need for a more specialized, holistic, multidisciplinary approach for caring for people with dementia through his work that focused on memory issues. He created the Memory Care Clinic. As its director, he brought aboard social worker Stephanie Freeman, MSSW, as Memory Care Program Coordinator to design collaborations with other departments within Baptist Health Medical Group as well as with community resources. Neurologist Stephanie Sheffield, M.D., Ph.D., and physician assistant Jessica Cain complete the clinic’s care staff.


It’s incredible what a small staff of four can do to provide individualized diagnoses, treatment and ongoing care for the clinic’s patients. Working with each patient and their family and/or caregivers, the staff crafts a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach that offers a variety of services to help each person live a more functional life. These services include family care coordination, home health services, outpatient rehabilitative services (speech, physical and occupational therapies) and access to the Baptist Health Lexington Lifeline, which offers 24/7 emergency response services.   

MEMORY CARE CLINIC FILLS NEED FOR HOLISTIC APPROACH TO DEMENTIA

“What is unique about our neurology clinic is the multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis and treatment for memory disorders, as well as the care and support we are able to offer family caregivers,” said Freeman. “Within Baptist Health Lexington and our Memory Care Clinic, we offer many dementia-specific services as part of our treatment plan, including clinical trials and family support. This allows us to provide compassionate care for our patients with memory disorders and their loved ones.


”New patients initially undergo an evaluation. Prior to the first appointment, the patient and his or her family and/or loved one(s) fill out a series of questionnaires covering medical history and current symptoms. There is no definitive diagnostic test for dementia, but blood tests can rule out other conditions such as tumors or metabolic issues. Often a thyroid problem or lack of B12 can mimic dementia. A CAT scan, MRI, EEG or spinal fluid test may be performed. Medications may be prescribed. For most memory disorders, such as mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, cognitive enhancer medications called cholinesterase inhibitors (Aricept, Razadyne and Exelon) along with the medication Namenda are prescribed.

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela S. Hoover is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

more articles by Angela S. Hoover