Dementia is a neuro-degenerative brain disorder which makes the patient’s behavior more challenging as it progresses. The common issues are wandering, pacing, bathing, sun downing, agitation, hallucinations etc. However, the situation and the triggers for every patient may vary, but through some behavior modification by the family or caregiver it can be managed.
One of the biggest challenges for people who are taking care of a spouse or elderly parent with any form of dementia is dealing with sudden outbursts of agitation and aggression. Most people with dementia undergo behavioral changes during the course of the disease. Depending on their personalities and experiences they may become anxious or repeat the same question or activity many times.
As caregivers, we are well aware of the powerful range of emotions felt by us and our loved one with dementia. People with dementia fluctuate between many different behaviors and moods ranging from being excited and cheerful, to sadness, crying and aggression. As we struggle in our attempt to deal with these mood changes, many of these negative mood states can transfer to us. They typically show up as sadness, anger, frustration and exhaustion.
World Human Rights Day is observed on December 15th every year. A Dementia patient too has his or her rights as defined by the Alzheimer’s Society of UK here .
In this context as a part of Samvedna Senior Care’s Dementia Support Group meeting on Saturday, 9th December 2017, we decided to discuss the ethical dilemmas faced by families for their loved ones with Dementia. We started the workshop by discussing some viewpoints on dilemmas that commonly disturb caregivers.
Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative disease in which brain cells (neurons) are affected. While it is most commonly associated with motor symptoms such as tremors, rigidity, postural instability, difficulty walking, etc., Parkinson’s is also accompanied by non-motor symptoms such as disturbances in the sense of smell, sleep problems, depression, anxiety and cognitive changes.
Many elderly appreciate having an alcoholic drink every now and then, and alcohol can be a part of celebrating and socializing. We are also well aware that drinking too frequently in large quantities can put anyone in danger of developing serious physical and mental health problems.
The prevalence of dementia and age-related cognitive impairment is rising due to an aging population worldwide. There is currently no effective medicinal treatment available, however various cognitive activity programmes can help prevent and delay the progression of the disease. This is especially true if the diagnosis of dementia is made in its early stages, presenting a window of opportunity for various interventions.
Dementia changes the brain and researchers are making great efforts to increase our understanding of it’s the effects and changes. With increased understanding of dementia, we as caregivers are modifying the ways in which we manage the various symptoms of dementia. The aim is to identify and understand the techniques through which caring can be optimized.
Validation emphasizes empathy and listening. It is a method of communicating with and helping disoriented old people. ‘Disoriented old people’ is the term used by Validation therapists to talk about individuals with dementia or other cognitive problems.