by Beverly Shenkman, M.A., M.Ed

Everyone has unique healthcare needs, and those needs change over time. At Better Health Advisors, we provide guidance and support throughout these transitions. The following case study is an example of how we help people make informed decisions about care, even as the patient’s needs are changing.

Case Study: Ray and Sandra

Ray* reached out to Better Health Advisors several years ago, because his wife, Sandra, was showing signs of dementia. Ray had just retired. He wanted to make sure his wife got the care she needed, but he also wanted to enjoy his retirement.

Arranging for Additional Support at Home

As Sandra's needs increased, Ray felt stifled and unable to enjoy the retirement he had envisioned. He decided to hire a full-time aide to come in and spend time with his wife. We helped him find the right person, and Sandra loved her. The aide kept Sandra engaged, and they often took walks together.

We also arranged for someone to come in and do a safety assessment to make sure their home was safe for her. Physically, Sandra was in good shape, and we wanted to help her stay that way.

As time went on, Sandra became more reclusive. She lost interest in leaving the house and spent much of the day sleeping. Ray noticed the change and mentioned it in his next meeting with the BHA team. He was concerned that she needed more stimulation to maintain her cognitive abilities, and he felt like he wasn't doing enough for her. He wondered if she would benefit from assisted living.

Moving to a Memory Care Facility

I talked with Ray about potential next steps in Sandra's treatment. Even though she was comfortable and cared for in the home she shared with her husband, keeping her there wasn't necessarily the best option. Sandra didn’t have any physical issues, so nursing home care was not necessary. However, we recognized that she would benefit from living in a place that offered memory care support.

BHA helped Ray find a great assisted living facility that could give Sandra the cognitive support she needed. Together, we went on a tour and spoke with the admissions counselor.

Ray helped Sandra move in, and at first, the transition was difficult for both of them. In order to make sure she is happy in her new home, Ray has stayed very involved in her care. He visits her often, but he is also able to live the life he wants to live.

Meanwhile, Sandra is thriving in her new community, where she remains very active. Instead of sleeping the day away, she participates in music therapy and movement activities. She is supported by a great, cohesive team, including a physical therapist, occupational therapist, activities therapists, and nurses. 

Health Advisors See the Big Picture

Supporting Ray and Sandra through these transitions involved considering both her needs as a patient and his needs as a caregiver. BHA helped them find the right solutions every step of the way.

Many people resist the idea of putting their loved one in a facility, but Ray and Sandra’s story is an example of how that decision can be a positive one for everyone involved.

If you or someone you love is coping with a new diagnosis, struggling with a chronic health condition, or needs support maintaining their good health, reach out and let us know.

*For client confidentiality, all names and identifying details have been changed

Beverly Shenkman, M.A., M.Ed is a Senior Advisor with Better Health Advisors. She has more than 35 years of experience in healthcare and has worked closely with treatment teams at major NYC hospitals, including Mount Sinai, New York Presbyterian, New York University, and Beth Israel.