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Dementia and Family Dynamics

Dementia and Family Dynamics

Dementia and Family Dynamics

It may be hard to imagine, but for some families, dementia has a silver lining. The diagnosis may bring families closer as members work together to solve a common challenge. It forces intimacy when bodily functions become less personal. And it can cause relatives to depend on each other for emotional support.

More often, though, dementia sparks conflict, guilt, grief, sacrifice, uncertainty negative emotions that can affect the quality of life for the person with dementia and their loved ones. Studies show that more than most other diseases, dementia increases stress and decreases mental health and well-being in caregivers for a variety of reasons:

• Caring for someone with dementia is difficult, time-consuming, and may necessitate the caregiver leaving their job and abandoning hobbies and relationships.

• Dementia can be isolating because it’s so individual.

• The progressive and unpredictable nature of dementia makes planning difficult, increasing uncertainty and anxiety.

• Many family members experience guilt when caring for someone with dementia, wondering if they’re doing enough for their loved one.

• Adult children of people with dementia may find themselves bathing, dressing, and feeding their parents. The resulting sense of loss can cut both ways: Adult children grieve the parent they knew, and the person with dementia depending on how lucid they are may grieve the effect their diagnosis has on their children.

• Frustration can arise when the care recipient is unable to express gratitude.

You may be dealing with these stressors and/or others, making your experience with dementia far from any silver lining. If that’s the case, here are some ideas to help maintain your well-being and navigate the land mines of family dynamics and dementia.

Remember that what you’re experiencing is normal. All your emotions are shared by millions of loved ones around the world. You may feel alone you’re not.

Stay flexible. Dementia is not fixed. The disease evolves and changes so what you’re handling right now may change next week. Try not to fixate on one way of doing things.

Be patient. This is easier said than done. But try to keep in mind that your loved one isn’t intentionally being difficult. The best care you can provide is a healthy dose of patience.

Ask for and offer help. If you’re in over your head, ask your family for support. Try to make your requests specific versus open-ended: “I need someone to do the grocery shopping. I need you to take mom to the doctor on Tuesday. I need coverage on Wednesday so I can take a day off.” Remember that if you need help, other family caregivers may need support as well. Check in and see how everyone is doing and what might make it easier for everyone.

Communicate. Consider weekly family meetings to discuss the latest developments and who’s handling what.

Consider an intermediary. When tensions run high in already fraught situations, the results can be explosive. Try to diffuse the situation before it gets to that point by using an intermediary to negotiate with difficult family members if disagreements about care seem insurmountable.

Hire support if necessary. Bring in professionals if you need to. Professional caregivers, housekeepers, personal assistants, and others can relieve you of the burden of care when it gets too heavy.

Take care of yourself. Studies show that caregivers who adapt to stress share two qualities: optimism and resilience. Resilience is the ability to cope effectively and adapt. Optimism is the expectation of a positive outcome in the face of adversity. Ask yourself what you can do to increase these qualities in yourself. Regular exercise? Time away? Professional support? Banish the misconception that self-care is selfish: you simply can’t take care of your loved one unless you first take care of yourself.

Caring for someone with dementia is especially hard when family dynamics are unhealthy. The most important thing you can do for your family, yourself, and your loved one is to work together and support each other. Quality of life is possible if you know how to create it.

Source: tenderrose.com

A guideline for navigating changes in Family Dynamics

In order to cope with the change in dynamics, it’s important to face everything as a family with open communication, understanding and compassion. This battle is different for everyone, so it’s important to do what you can to help one another. To help you navigate the changes, keep some of the following points in mind.

Adjusting will not happen overnight.Just because you now know about the disease and have a plan in place doesn’t mean you know everything there is to know. Alzheimer’s disease affects families and their loved ones differently, so your “normal” may change multiple times through the course of the disease. Take time to adjust and give yourself – and other family members – some grace.

People generally work better in numbers.If you or another family member need help with caregiving tasks, ask for help or step in to help. Is a family member having an emotionally hard time dealing with the diagnosis? Reach out and help them. Are household tasks getting put on the backburner? Take some time to help them clean.

Make sure everyone is on the same page.Again, communication is key. If your loved one is getting worse, tell your family. If there is something they need to step up and do, ask your family to help with it. If you learn something that makes your loved one with Alzheimer’s feel better, share that with other family members. Be a team and communicate to be better caregivers.

“If you and your family are having trouble coping with your loved one’s diagnosis, reach out for help and support,” says Peggy. “Joining support groups, talking to a counselor or pastor, or seeking out options for care can help to make your journey through Alzheimer’s disease easier.”

Source: lionsgateccrc.org

Siblings disagree about how much care is needed

Adult siblings don’t always see caregiving needs the same way. One child may have the impression that a parent is doing fine at home, while another feels that the parent needs extra help. This is especially common if family members are spread out geographically or spend different amounts of time with the aging loved one.

Source: aplaceformom.com

How relationships change

Alzheimer’s disease does not change a person’s need for love and affection, but it changes many aspects of a relationship. You may lose the companionship of someone who has been close and important to you. You’ll need to find different ways to express your feelings.

Alzheimer’s disease can also affect the sexual relationship of partners. It can change a person’s interest in sex, either increasing or decreasing it. This may create a problem. For example, the person may put demands on you for more sex than is wanted.

A person with dementia may be overly affectionate at the wrong time or place. If this happens, explain the disease and its effects to the people involved to help them understand.

You may also find your role in your relationship has changed. Perhaps the person always looked after the family’s finances and this task has now fallen to you. Making decisions about financial and legal matters may be overwhelming. You may need to ask family members, friends or professionals to help you.

You may also find that your relationships with friends and family have changed. Perhaps they hesitate to spend time with you because they’re not sure what to say or may worry about the person’s behaviour. You may need to be the one to contact friends and family members. Suggest the best way to communicate with your family member with dementia, such as what to expect or activities they may still enjoy together. This may help you keep these sources of support close to you and the person you care for, at a time when you most need them.

Providing care for someone close to you can create new sources of stress in the rest of the family. Other family members may not be able to accept the person’s illness; you may resent the lack of help from other family members who don’t feel able, for whatever reason, to help out. You may also disagree on decisions about finances and care. It’s most helpful if these concerns can be acknowledged and addressed. You can do this through holding a family meeting, accepting that you will not all agree, sharing responsibility for care (even if it’s not an equal share), and continuing to communicate so that family members don’t feel left out.

The Alzheimer Society can help; don’t try to do this alone!

Source: alzheimer.ca

The Help You Need in a Memory Care Facility

As with all Stonegate Senior Living-supported properties, the staff at Pathways Memory Care know how to help families navigate the troubled waters to find the support they need. They understand that dealing with the progressive disease can become overwhelming.

Take, for example, Dawn Revere, who gave up her job to look after her husband, who contracted early-onset Alzheimer’s, at age 50, and finally succumbed four years later. “This experience caused me to be an emotional wreck, but I knew I couldn’t fall apart,” Dawn says in her testimony on the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry. “I was his rock. I did everything I could to protect him and give him the best care possible.”

Providing care to a loved one with dementia can become too much for many people. Statistics show that seniors with dementia are three times more likely to be hospitalized or go to a specialized senior care facility than those without. They wind up requiring the kinds of professional long- term support and services just not possible for most untrained family members to provide.

At Pathways Memory Care, they rely on Warchol Best-Abilities Care Model to ensure a “loved one is able to live to his or her emotional, spiritual, and functional potential at every stage of dementia.” As with all Stonegate memory care facilities, it provides special programs to slow down memory loss and enhance quality of life for every stage of the resident’s experience of Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Source: accelcrystalpark.com

Tips for families

Listen to each family member with respect. Coping with a progressive illness, such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s, can be stressful — and not everyone reacts in the same way. Family members may have different opinions. Some relatives may deny what is happening; a long-distance relative may be resented for living far away; or there may be disagreement about financial and care decisions, especially at the end-of-life. These issues are complex and require ongoing discussions. Give everyone an opportunity to share their opinion and avoid blaming or attacking each other, as this will only cause more hurt.

Discuss caregiving responsibilities. Talk through caregiving roles and responsibilities. Make a list of tasks and include how much time, money and effort may be involved to complete them. Divide tasks according to the family member’s preferences and abilities. Some family members may be hands-on caregivers, responding immediately to issues and organizing resources. Others may be more comfortable with being told to complete specific tasks. Consider setting up an online care calendar to coordinate helpers.

Continue to talk. Keep the lines of communication open. Schedule regular meetings or conference calls to keep everyone involved up-to-date. Discuss how things are working, reassess the needs of the person with Alzheimer’s, and decide if any changes in responsibilities are needed. Plan for anticipated changes as the disease progresses.

Cope with changes and loss together. As Alzheimer’s progresses and cognitive abilities change, it is normal to experience feelings of loss. Caregivers and family members may want to seek support from others who are dealing with similar situations. Attend a support group in your area or join our ALZConnected online community.

Seek outside help. If tensions and disagreements are ongoing, you may want to seek help from a trusted third party, such as a spiritual leader, mediator or counselor. Sometimes, an outside perspective can help everyone take a step back and work through the difficult issues.

Source: alz.org





Contact Us

Location:

Braley Care Homes

6192 US 60

Hurricane, WV 25526

 

Phone Numbers:

Referrals and Inquiries: (304) 767-4033

Facility Phone: (304) 201-3677

Facility Fax: (304) 201-3678

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Normal Aging vs Early Signs of Dementia

Normal Aging vs Early Signs of Dementia

The Truth About Aging and Dementia

As we age, our brains change, but Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are not an inevitable part of aging. In fact, up to 40% of dementia cases may be prevented or delayed. It helps to understand what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to brain health.

Normal brain aging may mean slower processing speeds and more trouble multitasking, but routine memory, skills, and knowledge are stable and may even improve with age. It’s normal to occasionally forget recent events such as where you put your keys or the name of the person you just met.

In the United States, 6.2 million people age 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia. People with dementia have symptoms of cognitive decline that interfere with daily life—including disruptions in language, memory, attention, recognition, problem solving, and decision-making.
Source: cdc.gov

The differences between normal aging and dementia

If you are experiencing difficulties with memory, know that they may not be signs of dementia. It could be memory loss as a part of normal aging.

If you are concerned that you or someone you know has dementia, please talk to your doctor.

Source: alzheimer.ca

What is aging?

Aging is a natural process of our lives. As we age, we experience gradual changes to our brains and bodies. Some of these changes affect our physical and mental abilities, and may increase our risk of disease.

Each one of us experiences aging differently. The extent of how we experience changes due to aging, and the point in our lives when they start becoming more noticeable, varies from person to person.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), each person should have the ability to live a long and healthy life. This is considered healthy aging.

Source: alzheimer.ca

Memory, Forgetfulness, and Aging: What’s Normal and What’s Not?

Many older adults worry about their memory and other thinking abilities. For example, they might be concerned about taking longer than before to learn new things, or they may sometimes forget to pay a bill. These changes are usually signs of mild forgetfulness — often a normal part of aging — not serious memory problems.

Source: nia.nih.gov

What’s normal forgetfulness and what’s not?

What’s the difference between normal, age-related forgetfulness and a serious memory problem? It’s normal to forget things once in a while as we age, but serious memory problems make it hard to do everyday things like driving, using the phone, and finding your way home.

Talk with your doctor to determine whether memory and other cognitive problems, such as the ability to clearly think and learn, are normal and what may be causing them.

Signs that it might be time to talk to a doctor include:

Asking the same questions over and over again

Getting lost in places a person knows well

Having trouble following recipes or directions

Becoming more confused about time, people, and places

Not taking care of oneself —eating poorly, not bathing, or behaving unsafely

 

Source: nia.nih.gov

 

Normal Aging vs. Dementia

While some mild changes in cognition are considered a normal part of the aging process, . Normal age-related declines are subtle and mostly affect the speed of thinking and attentional control. In abnormal aging, declines in cognition are more severe and may include other thinking abilities, such as rapid forgetting or difficulties navigating, solving common problems, expressing oneself in conversation or behaving outside of social rules. Abnormal aging can also include the motor system resulting in excessive tripping, falls or tremor. Often it is difficult to determine exactly when a person should be concerned with cognitive changes they may be experiencing. Symptoms vary from person to person – what is normal for one person may not be normal for another. This contributes to the challenges clinicians face when determining whether what someone is experiencing is a significant dementia or not.

Source: memory.ucsf.edu

When Forgetfulness Is a Problem

If memory loss makes it hard for you to handle your daily tasks, that’s a sign you shouldn’t ignore. Are you forgetting things you only just heard? Asking the same question over and over again? Relying on lots of paper or electronic reminders just to get through the day? Talk to your doctor if you or your family notices that happening to you.

 

Source: webmd.com

Signs of Dementia

Sometimes, there does come a point at which forgetfulness becomes more prominent and affects daily life. These symptoms can point to dementia. Some signs of a more serious problem, such as dementia, include:

Not being able to remember a recent conversation or event, or forgetting what’s happening while it’s happening

Being unable to learn or remember new information

Having significant language issues, such as struggling to have a conversation because of word-finding problems

Experiencing significant mood or personality changes such as depression, anxiety, or intense irritability

Appearing apathetic or withdrawn

Frequently pausing when talking

Forgetting family members’ names

Often getting lost and needing help finding one’s way

Experiencing significant declines in reaction time, which may affect driving, cooking, or the ability to recover from tripping and falling

The key to understanding what is normal aging and what could be dementia is evaluating how it affects daily life. For example, if your loved one is anxious because they can no longer manage their checkbook or monthly bills, you should speak with a physician.

Are you caring for someone with dementia? The Caregiver’s Complete Guide to Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care includes tips to help you accommodate your loved one’s changing needs.

Source: arborcompany.com

The different levels of memory loss

Age-associated memory impairment

If you are experiencing difficulties with memory, but:

They are not noticeably disrupting your daily life,

They are not affecting your ability to complete tasks as you usually would,

You have no difficulty learning and remembering new things and

There’s no underlying medical condition that is causing your memory problems,

Then you have what’s known as age-associated memory impairment.

Age-associated memory impairment is considered to be a normal part of aging. It doesn’t mean you have dementia.

Though you may have difficulties remembering things on occasion, like where you left your keys, a password for a website or the name of a former classmate, these are not signs you have dementia. You may not remember things as quickly as you used to, but most of the time there is no cause for concern.

Source: alzheimer.ca

When to visit the doctor for memory loss

If you, a family member, or friend has problems remembering recent events or thinking clearly, talk with a doctor. He or she may suggest a thorough checkup to see what might be causing the symptoms. You may also wish to talk with your doctor about opportunities to participate in research on cognitive health and aging.

At your doctor visit, he or she can perform tests and assessments, which may include a brain scan, to help determine the source of memory problems. Your doctor may also recommend you see a neurologist, a doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the brain and nervous system.

Memory and other thinking problems have many possible causes, including depression, an infection, or medication side effects. Sometimes, the problem can be treated, and cognition improves. Other times, the problem is a brain disorder, such as Alzheimer’s disease, which cannot be reversed.

Finding the cause of the problems is important for determining the best course of action. Once you know the cause, you can make the right treatment plan. People with memory problems should make a follow-up appointment to check their memory every six to 12 months. They can ask a family member, friend, or the doctor’s office to remind them if they’re worried they’ll forget.

Learn more about cognitive health and Alzheimer’s and related dementias.

 

Source: nia.nih.gov

Contact Us

Location:

Braley Care Homes

6192 US 60

Hurricane, WV 25526

 

Phone Numbers:

Referrals and Inquiries: (304) 767-4033

Facility Phone: (304) 201-3677

Facility Fax: (304) 201-3678

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Common Misconceptions about Dementia

Common Misconceptions about Dementia

Common Misconceptions About Dementia

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 50 million people across the globe have dementia. Furthermore, at least 10 million new cases arise annually. Unfortunately, these statistics mean that most people know at least one person who has lived with or currently lives with dementia.

If you or a loved one has dementia, knowledge is power. Not only does correct information allow you to better advocate for your loved one and plan for the future, but it can also allow you the comfort of knowing more about what to expect from the disease. However, there are quite a few common misconceptions about dementia out there. Here are some of them so that you can learn the truths that will help you continue to know more about this disease.

Source: arborcompany.com

Below are the common misconceptions about dementia:

Dementia is inevitable with age

This statement is not true. Dementia is not a normal part of aging.

According to a report that the Alzheimer’s Association published, Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia, affects 3% of people aged 65–74 years in the U.S.

As a result of the risk increasing as we age, 17% of people aged 75–84 years and 32% of people aged 85 years and older have a dementia diagnosis.

Source: medicalnewstoday.com

All types of memory loss are a sign of dementia

“One of the biggest misconceptions about dementia is that every kind of memory loss someone might experience is Alzheimer’s disease and that’s not true,” Dr. Sicotte says.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, there are many other types.

Dr. Sicotte says that a combination of underlying changes in the brain can cause memory loss, but memory loss is only one component of diagnosing dementia.

Faces of Cedars-Sinai: Neurologist Nancy Sicotte

Source: cedars-sinai.org

 

Dementia only affects older people.

Reality: Dementia can affect people from their 30s onwards.

Dementia is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain. People over 65 are most likely to get it, but dementia can appear in people under retirement age. When this happens, it’s known as young onset dementia.

Learn more about young onset dementia.

Source: alzheimer.ca

Drinking out of aluminum cans or cooking in aluminum pots and pans can lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

Reality: During the 1960s and 1970s, aluminum emerged as a possible suspect in Alzheimer’s. This suspicion led to concern about exposure to aluminum through everyday sources such as pots and pans, beverage cans, antacids and antiperspirants. Since then, studies have failed to confirm any role for aluminum in causing Alzheimer’s. Experts today focus on other areas of research, and few believe that everyday sources of aluminum pose any threat.

Source: alz.org

Flu shots increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Reality: A theory linking flu shots to a greatly increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease has been proposed by a U.S. doctor whose license was suspended by the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners. Several mainstream studies link flu shots and other vaccinations to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and overall better health.

Source: alz.org

If someone in your family has dementia, that means you will get it as well.

Fact: Some forms of dementia have a genetic component, but there is not a strong genetic link in most cases.

While dementia is genetic and inherited in some cases, not all cases of dementia are hereditary. If a family member has dementia, it may indicate a higher risk of developing dementia, but this is not a guarantee. Some forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, are more prone to being passed on through families. Other forms of dementia, such as those caused by brain injuries or Lyme disease, are less likely to impact multiple family members.

Source: therecoveryvillage.com

Dementia is untreatable and cannot be slowed down

There is no cure for dementia, but early symptoms can be managed through a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.

Early diagnosis is important for successful treatment and extended quality of life.

You can also support risk reduction strategies. Just as you would with heart disease and stroke, you can advise your patients to make life changes that reduce the likelihood they will develop dementia – the earlier, the better.

Source: dementia.org.au

People living with dementia don’t understand what’s happening around them

This is another frequent myth related to dementia. Many people believe that because those living with dementia struggle to communicate effectively, it means that they are not aware of what is happening around them. However, the part of the brain which deals with communication is separate to the area which deals with awareness. This means that, sadly, most do have thoughts to communicate although they struggle to relay these.

Source: barchester.com

People with Alzheimer’s have no hope.

Learning how to live with the disease is key to continuing a meaningful life. Early diagnosis and medications can help. Additionally, caregivers and the person with Alzheimer’s should both seek out support groups and learn to revise life goals and how to offer and/or accept help. In loving environments, people with the disease can participate and enjoy life many years after diagnosis.

Source: keckmedicine.org

Conclusion

While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s important to recognize the signs and talk to your doctor about the risk factors.

Source: cedars-sinai.org

Contact Us

Location:

Braley Care Homes

6192 US 60

Hurricane, WV 25526

 

Phone Numbers:

Referrals and Inquiries: (304) 767-4033

Facility Phone: (304) 201-3677

Facility Fax: (304) 201-3678