Alzheimer’s disease accounts for over 70% of progressive dementia in adults today.
At first subtle changes in memory loss such as forgetting names, misplacing items and missing appointments. Over time there is deterioration in most of the neurological functions. The patient is usually devastated, confused and often gets aggressive and frustrated when they try to understand what is happening to them.
This disease robs an individual of memory, at first it is just the short term and then the long term. It destroys the capability to reason, and to use common sense and logic.
It can be even more devastating for the primary caregiver who face the everyday challenges and caring for these individuals.
About six years ago I found myself in the role of caregiver; my mother had lived with my family for about thirty years, when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She was given some great medications that cut the progress of the disease by 50% and we had in home care for her.
However, I found it very hard to watch her deteriorate to a state where she could not function in the easiest of tasks. I also took the brunt of her temper when she would get frustrated. The social workers at the Arthritis Society suggested that no matter how wrong or illogical she became, we were to agree with her. It was hard at first but in the long run it was much easier and less stressful.
Most Alzheimer’s Society branches run day programs. For almost three years I would drop my Mom off daily on my way to work until one day she caught a virus and had to stay in the hospital for several weeks. It was during this time I realized I was losing sleep and under great stress from looking after her daily needs. It was then my family, the doctors and the social workers felt that it was time I looked for a placement for her at an assisted living community.
At first she was angry with me, but has been in the home now for about four years and has settled-down; and is quite happy now. The staff at the home looks after her much better than I ever could.
I cannot stress enough the importance of having a support team. This could be your friends, family, doctors and most importantly your office of the Alzheimer’s Society. I don’t know what I would have done without their help, advice, programs and support.