Increasingly, stress is considered a risk factor for dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s. Stress is also a risk factor for stroke and heart attack as well as a trigger for many diseases from arthritis to psoriasis. Obviously, limiting stress in our lives is a good idea. But how? Simply living what we call modern life seems to make stress the norm.
Frustrated caregivers often wonder why their loved one who is living with Alzheimer’s sometimes reacts with anger as the caregivers attempt to help. Understanding why a spouse, parent or grandparent behaves this way can help the caregiver limit these stressful, frustrating times. To do that, the caregivers must understand life from the point of view of their loved one’s impaired mind.
An amazing book of stories that will touch your heart and encourage you, especially if you are a caregiver. Carol Bradley Bursack also has an excellent website devoted to the elderly and their caregivers. - Carol Heilman
Many people have heard of hospice care but they mistakenly think that it’s just a way to help cancer patients be more comfortable at the end of their lives. Fewer people have heard of palliative care, and they may have no idea what it is. The truth is that hospice and palliative care are related but used for different reasons at different times, and everyone should be well-versed in what they offer. Here, we’ll clarify some points of confusion.
Caregivers are often isolated by the nature of their responsibilities. Some can’t leave home without arranging for someone to come and care for their loved one. Others are simply taxed to expend energy on friends no matter how lonely they may feel. So, how can you be a friend to an isolated caregiver?
Bathing issues can be one of the most frustrating parts of dementia care, but a caregiver can lower stress with flexibility and insight. Here are some expert caregiver tips to consider when planning out bathing times for your loved one.
Dear Carol: My mother’s memory has gotten very poor, her arthritis puts her at risk for falls, and she has severe asthma, so she decided that she’d be better off in assisted living. My brother and I were in agreement and we went with Mom to look at available facilities. We were thrilled with what we thought was the perfect home. Since the move, though, Mom has lost interest in everything. She won’t do her once cherished crossword puzzles, even when I bring the newest ones published. Her magazines pile up unread. She won’t participate in any of the interesting activities that the facility offers and has to be begged to go to group meals. It’s like she pulling in on herself. We have to sell her house to continue paying for her assisted living, but now my brother and I feel guilty. What if she wants to go back to her old home? She says, no, that’s not what she wants. She likes feeling safe. Yet she shows no interest in life. To be fair, this was coming on long before the move, but it’s worse now. How do we handle the situation? Tim
In the New Year, because your loved one’s situation hasn’t changed, you might think that nothing can improve your own situation. But if you are open to change, you may find that the symbolism of the New Year does offer opportunities to make your life better. Resolve to improve your life through better self-care.
One of the most commonly asked questions about cognitive issues is “Is it Alzheimer’s or dementia?” The short answer is, Alzheimer’s is one type of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Dementia is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is caused by physical changes in the brain.”
Nobody invites dementia of any type into their lives but once dementia is a part of the family it will be part of the holidays. The person with dementia will have good days and bad days and will change as the disease progresses. One thing we can count on, though, is that a loved one with dementia will need special consideration. How does a caregiver cope with the holidays and remain sane?
One of the most heartbreaking things caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s hear is “I want to go home.” The request is often repeated many times a day, even though the person is, to our way of thinking, home. Anyone who has tried saying, “But you are home!” will know that logic doesn’t work. What can a caregiver do?