We all become forgetful as we age. But dementia is another matter – a matter that breaks hearts. A number of disorders can cause dementia, all affecting memory, thinking, behavior and everyday functioning. The most common type is Alzheimer’s. But others, like vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies are just as malicious in their attack on a person’s memory and identity.
No health care system in North Texas has provided the full spectrum of clinical and support services dementia patients and their families need. Baylor Neuroscience Center will expand The Memory Center to begin to meet this need. This will be a place where dementia patients and their families can get all the care and support they need as the disease progresses. While there’s not yet a cure, there’s still an abundance of compassion.
Areas of Need
LEADERSHIP AND EXCELLENCE
Between one-third and one-half of all people with dementia live in costly residential or nursing home facilities. There is a lack of outpatient services for dementia patients because nationally the focus is on research, not patient care. As a result, there’s a shortage of specialists who will see these patients. Primary care physicians may not be adequately trained, equipped or staffed to address the vast medical needs, behavioral issues, and caregiver stressors associated with the disease. The Memory Center will address this need by serving as a single point of contact for dementia patients and their families. It will be yet another way we can meet Baylor’s mission of providing exemplary patient care to all people.
PATIENT AND CAREGIVER SUPPORT
Dementia is a family disease. Overwhelming, exhausting and stressful for caregivers, it can impact a patient’s family, friends and community for many years. Education and support groups will address the issues caregivers face, such as stress, depression, relationship changes, grief, loss and respite care.
Sometimes, the most enlightened component of care is the most human. Baylor’s care coordinators and social workers are excellent examples. With dementia, the most pressing issues may not be physical ones. A care coordinator provides support to patients and their families as they adjust to the changes that accompany dementing illness. The care coordinator would provide personalized referrals to care agencies, day programs, caregiver classes, and support groups. Often decisions need to be made regarding level of care, driving, and finances. This service is a tremendous asset to the physicians on the medical staff at Baylor Dallas, particularly assisting families who are struggling or who simply need extra attention. We at Baylor believe the addition of a social worker to the Memory Center’s already holistic approach to patient care can offer even one more level of quality, compassionate care.
Your contribution can help Baylor Health Care System Foundation fund Neuroscience programs that promote multidisciplinary clinical care, advanced technology, teaching and research. Please give online or call 214-820-3136 to discuss your gift today.
5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death.
One in eight people age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s.
The global cost of caring for people with dementia in 2010 was $604 billion. By 2030, costs are expected to increase by 85 percent.
The Memory Center is one of the only outpatient clinics in North Texas focused solely on clinical care for patients with dementia and support for their families and caregivers.