Dementia Care

Seeing the Person…

A dementia diagnosis may cause patients and families alike to question the future. Although there is no cure for dementia, Winneshiek Medical Center’s Dementia Care Program can help patients maintain a good quality of life and provide family and friends with meaningful ways to help.

For more information on WMC’s Dementia Care Program, talk to your primary care provider, or call the Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine department at 563-387-3031.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is a term for diseases and conditions characterized by a decline in memory or other thinking skills that affects a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Dementia is not a normal part of aging; therefore, it is important to get a diagnosis to identify the actual cause of the problem so that you can receive proper care. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.

Signs of early stage dementia can include:

  • Asking repetitive questions
  • Regularly misplacing objects or items
  • Not taking medications as prescribed
  • Inconsistencies in conversations and personality changes
  • Decreased leisure activities/ missed appointments
  • Decreased hygiene habits
  • Increased difficulty with bill paying/money management
  • Having spoiled or excess groceries
  • Spouse compensating for patient or increased tension between spouse and patient

Signs of late stage dementia can include:

  • Hitting, yelling, crying, biting
  • Disengaging from the environment
  • Toileting in inappropriate places
  • Increased falls
  • Difficulty getting individual to eat/sleep/bathe/change clothing

WMC’s Dementia Care Program

WMC’s Dementia Care Program provides specific strategies for families and caregivers to implement as their loved ones reach new stages of dementia.

WMC’s Dementia Care Program is designed by Winneshiek Medical Center occupational therapist Lori Shindelar, OTR/L, and certified occupational therapy assistant Bridget White, COTA/L.

The program is available to anyone who has been diagnosed with dementia, whether they live in their own home or in a long term care facility. It is the only program of its kind in our area.

How does WMC’s Dementia Care Program work?

Occupational therapy professionals work closely with the patient and their family to help “see the person” to customize their care. Therapists strive to learn about the patient’s life; including family, former occupations and interests. During a patient’s lifetime, did he or she:

  • Like music? A patient may believe he or she is a teenager in the 1920’s. Find a collection of music from those years and share with the patient.
  • Enjoy morning coffee? Meal time may cause undesirable behaviors, but the patient may enjoy a coffee break. Call meal time “coffee break” to encourage the patient to willingly join the table.
  • Like to clean? Find meaningful tasks for the patient to perform to keep their environment tidy and organized.
  • Enjoy farming? Many patients spent their entire lives on a farm. Listening to or reading the daily farm report may settle their agitation.

These are just a few examples of what occupational therapy professionals can suggest to improve quality of life.

Is the WMC Dementia Program Covered by Insurance?

WMC’s Dementia Care Program is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurances. It is important to check with your insurance carrier before beginning services.

How can I learn more about WMC’s Dementia Care Program?

For more information on WMC’s Dementia Care Program, talk to your primary care provider, or call the Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine department at 563-387-3031.