What is the difference in caring for elders with Alzheimer's or other similar forms of dementia. or even people affected by other types of illness or disability, These illnesses are complex and may take different paths in different cases. A recent research reiterates what many care givers know, caregiving in these situations is a very stressful. The report is available on the Carer's Trust website. The progression of the disease is unpredictable. Caregivers may need to understand the issues and need support at various levels. Counseling, medical advice, social support and sometimes even legal and financial advice are important. .Caregivers are at a greater risk for depression. Family members and medical professionals need to understand this and extend their support.
As you reach 65 years of age there may be a 10% chance of developing dementia during your remaining lifetime. If it is possible to diagnose dementia in the early stages when patients may still have the capacity to understand the disease and to make important decisions about their future care, plan for eventualities and manage interventions.
The knowledge that one may lose their normal 'selves' and become dependent also brings painful emotions and even depression or anger. Diagnosis may lead to denial of the problem or even relief at having identified the reason for symptoms.
Sometimes families and individuals try to hide the fact as it may be perceived as embarrasing or there may be some stigma attached to it. However it is better to be prepared. Legal, financial, domestic and family issues need to be resolved. An article from Johns Hopkins, Coping with a Diagnosis of Early-Stage Dementia discusses some typical behaviours and reaction. Awareness is the first step to better management.
Daksha Bhat is interested in the management of ageing. As our society ages we need to create structures that will support the needs of the ageing population. We need to talk about the issues, understand them, and create the social environment that will lead to better services for the elderly. This website is a small attempt to be part of a bigger solution.