Confused Woman
Who Makes the Dementia Diagnosis?
April 24, 2018

Lifeguards Who Can’t Swim – What Happens When Your Loved One’s Care Needs Are Difficult?


You count on the lifeguard to keep you safe when you go swimming. But what happens when you start to drown? What if the lifeguard can’t swim? He can keep you safe in shallow water but won’t do you any good in deep water. What if he can’t do CPR or take other life saving measures once he pulls you out of the water? What will happen to you then? The problem is you don’t know what will happen until you start to drown. Can the lifeguard swim? Can he save your life? Hopefully we never have to find out – no one wants to drown – but we sure better hope he is up to the task.

The world is full of metaphorical lifeguards. People who say they are there for you – people who will guide you through tough times. Anyone who provides a product or service sells you on current and future benefits. Some of them deliver when the situation is easy and straightforward (unfortunately some don’t deliver on their promises even in straightforward situations). But few, if any, deliver when the situation becomes difficult or out of the ordinary – the one thing you are most worried about protecting yourself against is the time when you are most on your own.

In my business – elder law for families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia – the job is easy when the people suffering from the disease are docile and can be slotted into a cookie cutter type care plan. But when the person presents with difficult behaviors or some other situation that doesn’t allow for a straightforward care plan there are very few professionals able to guide you through that scenario or care providers who can help. Many people looking for help to care of their elderly loved ones fall into that category and find out how little help there is for them the hard way.

Most lifeguards show up to work hoping they aren’t called upon to save a life. They like sitting in the sun and swinging their whistle. Many lifeguards never have to do any more than that. Others walk into work hoping for the best but ready and fully equipped to deal with the worst. You won’t know who’s sitting on the lifeguard stand until that dreaded moment comes. I hope everything works out for you when it does.

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