After diagnosis, if it was made relatively early in your journey, you may have many moments when you can almost convince yourself that things are the same as before . . . that life will just continue as it has, uneventful and unchanging. It’s that defense called “denial” that is alive and well for most caregivers. We have hopes and dreams that we don’t want to relinquish. We want to pretend that life is normal.
A 5-foot-10-inch, 64-year-old man was admitted for evaluation because of throwing a chair in the dining room of the assisted living dementia facility.
All caregivers feel guilt, especially once the diagnosis has been given. Early on we don’t understand why the person with memory loss speaks or acts the way he/she does. I used to get angry at my husband thinking he was not listening to me or didn’t care. It was frustrating, but that was because I kept comparing his actions to the way he used to behave as a fully functioning and competent person…..but slowly over time he had changed.
In this world, we need to love and be loved. We also need to feel a sense of competence or mastery in order to feel good about ourselves. Alzheimer’s slowly dismantles a person’s sense of competence. While living with this disease, the AD person and their spouse, family members, or caregiver(s) do an emotional dementia dance where the steps are always new and always changing.
Many of us will be faced with caregiving when our children are long grown and we are watching our grandchildren grow up. Some of us are faced with caregiving in our 40’s while our children are just beginning adulthood … or even earlier! We were one of those in the sandwich generation, helping take care of our parents and children at the same time. A bit later, I was faced with caring for my husband too.
When focusing on hospital admissions/stays the word delusions pops up a lot, especially when describing our elderly population. What is the difference between delusions and dementia? Here’s an explanation.
These adds infuriate me. They prey on people who have the diagnosis of dementia, but don’t realize how drug testing works. Yes, experiencing the beginning signs of memory loss can be a scary thing, and these adds are directed at your fear. Most of the items that appear in these types of adds are not really considered drugs. They are classified as supplements.
I have been thinking about sacrifice for a great number of years. The meaning I’m referring to is “to give up something usually for a better cause”. As a caregiver, I sacrificed a lot of things in my 19 years: autonomy, independence, companionship, sexuality, and financial security. Being in a very loving marriage, I had to help my husband through his disease. He had no choice, and I woudn’t even consider the other major choice which was to leave him! Some people do.
The Emergency Departments of today are scary places for caregivers and those with dementia. A person with dementia is essentially experiencing slow and steady brain death in various but relatively predictable areas of the brain. As the disease progresses, the person will have all of their senses affected in some way: sight (narrowing of the field of vision), sound (loud noises hurt and are scary, constant noise causing sensory overload), taste ( changes of likes and dislikes), smell (loss of detection of smoke, gas, chemicals, body odor, spoiled food, urine or feces) and touch (more sensitive). Because of these sensory changes, the caregiver constantly adjusts the environment at home to reduce anxiety and have a more predictable (routine) and successful day.
Holidays are exciting times of the year, but they can be very stressful and fraught with many pitfalls if you don’t plan carefully beforehand. When planning for those special events you must take into consideration how far into the dementia your loved-one is, how much help they will need, how quickly they become overstimulated, how much rest they require, and how much recuperation time they must have after the event is over.