The Wisconsin State Journal has created a series to examine the dementia crisis in Wisconsin, including reporting on the hardships faced by rural families without many options for ongoing care.
“What are we going to do now?” “Can I go with you?” “You’re not going to leave me, are you?”
Bill Cadotte answers his wife’s repetitive questions dozens, if not hundreds, of times every day. He knows it’s her dementia speaking, not the charming woman he met more than 50 years ago.
Still, “it really wears on you … you get stressed out majorly,” Cadotte, 73, told the Journal. “It’s constant.”
Eventually, he hired his niece to look after Jacqui on weekdays, while he works as the tribe’s purchasing manager. On evenings, nights and weekends, he’s her unpaid caregiver.
“We live in a rural community where a lot of services just aren’t available,” he said. “We do what we have to do.”
Having dementia or caring for someone with it is a challenge anywhere. But it can be more of a struggle in rural areas, where services such as adult day care, home care, nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and state-supported dementia care specialists can be hard to come by, the publication, reports.
County workers hand out a list of home care providers to people seeking such care, but it’s often not much help. “Most of the agencies don’t even return phone calls because they don’t have staff to provide the service,” Sue Richmond, director of the county’s Aging and Disability Resource Center said.