Saturday, May 25, 2024

Nisha’s Blog: Caring for those with dementia

Guest Blogger Nisha Sharma has had personal experience, within her own family, of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. If you are struggling in a similar situation she is here to validate and support you to seek assistance …

“Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that disturbs a person’s memory, thinking and conduct. Signs of Alzheimer’s can be minimal at first and progress over time until it disrupts a person’s normal behavior. It is the most common form of dementia and accounts for up to 80 percent of dementia conditions. It has little to do with aging although the majority of people affected by Alzheimer’s are of senior age. It is not uncommon though for some people in their 40s and 50s to have an early onset of the disease. No matter the age, finding Alzheimer’s support for those that are in a caregiving role is essential.

Alzheimer’s Support and Memory Loss

Since it is a progressive disease, Alzheimer’s does get more serious over time. At its start, the condition may cause some mild memory loss which gradually leads to total confusion for the person affected. The person may actually not remember what they did just a few moments or days ago, yet may be able to remember a certain incident from years gone by in detail. Although they may know their name and age as well as past friends and family, a person with Alzheimer’s may not be aware of the current year. Learn more about Alzheimer’s warning signs.

Alzheimer’s can totally change the affected persons behavior and attitude – a normally loving person can easily turn rude and rowdy. After all, the confusion they are experiencing is affected by memory loss, which can be very frustrating for that person. It is not only confusing and complicating for the person with the disease; loved ones have a difficult time knowing how to be as loving and caring as necessary.

Sometimes the family, friends and loved ones of a person with Alzheimer’s can feel angry – angry that this happened to someone they love; frustrated and depressed because they don’t know what to expect or how to help. They feel as though they have already lost their loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s because of the confusion and memory loss. They are no longer the same person they knew and loved. Communicating with them can be almost impossible and very challenging since they cannot recall simple family events. Yet they want to help. This can lead to feelings of hopelessness.

Caring for your loved one with Alzheimer’s can be very stressful and overwhelming. Besides feeling frustrated, you may also feel mad, disheartened and almost isolated from everyone. Someone with Alzheimer’s is hard to care for and control – they do not know what they are doing or why…

Alzheimer’s Support through Power of Attorney

As a caregiver in this situation you need to think about all the financial and medical decisions and responsibilities that come with Alzheimer’s care. As things start to progress, you may have to legally obtain a power of attorney so that you are capable of taking on all personal affairs, financially and medically as the Alzheimer’s sufferer will no longer be able to do so. If things have progressed too quickly and this paper work is not in place, you may have to look at legal guardianship through the court system.

Often those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can feel alone, and sometimes families do not come together. Maybe it is distance or just busy lives that cause more tension as to who should take responsibility for an incapable individual they love. However, the responsibility of your loved one is best when it is shared among family and closest of friends. No one person should go at it alone. This is when getting Alzheimer’s support can make all the difference.

Alzheimer’s Support Options

Although you are a caregiver, you too may need help and coping skills to get you through the hardest of times. You are often juggling your own responsibilities while caring for someone who needs you. Remember to take care of yourself, get extra support and share in the care taking. This effort, although given from your heart, can be both emotionally and physically taxing. Online help and support groups through the medical offices, churches, Geriatric Care Managers and the like can help pull you through your most difficult of moments.

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