Dealing with the Alzheimer’s diagnosis is always challenging. Although we were “glad” to have the diagnosis because it meant that Jim and I weren’t “nuts” noticing all the changes that Jim was going through, the diagnosis certainly singled us out. Being a person with early-onset or the caregiver of one brought with it special circumstances that made me feel like “the odd man out”.
Taking care of yourself as a dementia caregiver is something most caregivers overlook. Very few of us choose to be a dementia caregiver as a career in our personal life. We end up there because someone close to us, usually a family member, is sick and needs our help. Most of us don’t have the money to hire round-the-clock caregivers to perform that task, so we take it upon ourselves out of love, or out of necessity, or both. Sometimes it just “falls in our lap” because we are the family’s logical choice or there is no one geographically closer. We are “tapped on the shoulder” and … “You’re It!”
Dementia is the broad umbrella term used to describe a decline in mental ability severe enough that it affects your daily life. The activities of daily living that may be affected are grooming (dressing), toileting, eating, medication taking, decision making, loss of reasoning skills, reduced visual perception, or personality changes.
Glen Campbell died today of Alzheimer’s disease at 81 years old. Glen holds a very special place in my heart because he was diagnosed the year that Jim died.
I am a person who listens to the words of a song. It’s the meaning that makes me like a song, and whether it plays as a movie in my head. Many of his songs did. Glen was also from our era. Many people have said that after a person dies of dementia, they were so courageous . . . and they are. Anyone who faces their own demise before old age is courageous be it dementia, or cancer, or ALS. It’s a road that one can’t imagine unless you are the one facing it.
What is a Mental Health Arrest? You think you would never use it . . .but you might when things get dicey! Read on please . . .
A mental health arrest is the taking of a person to a hospital due to behavioral symptoms that put themselves or others in some perceived danger. Once at a hospital, a mental and physical evaluation is performed to determine if the person has some underlying infection or malady that would cause them to behave differently. Illness can wreak havoc on the elderly or memory impaired mind, that when addressed can return them to “normal” thinking and behavior.
Many times when we are just getting used to the diagnosis, we haven’t yet assimilated it into our minds. We easily become frustrated or angry because we are remembering our loved one before the disease… the way they used to be. We also might be comparing the elicited behavior to what we would have done in the same situation.