Dementia Caregivers

Being a dementia caregiver is a rewarding role, if you are well prepared for all the different aspects of the position. Caregivers can be thrown into the role due to the condition of a loved one or it can be your field of employment. In any case, it is essential that you assist your patient, utilize all of your available resources, stay up to date on trainings and most importantly take care of yourself. You can not be a benefit to anybody else if you don’t take care of yourself.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is the loss of mental functions; in some cases permanently. It is a condition that is more common with elderly patients and can include:

  • Loss of reasoning
  • Concentration and thinking loss
  • Memory loss
  • Mood swings that affect personality and behavior

Dementia caregivers normally take care of Alzheimer’s patients or people with a type of progressive brain disorders.

A dementia caregiver is required to perform many tasks with responsibilities that include providing help with daily activities, personal care, bathing, cleaning, errands and appointments. The list can be extensive depending on the severity of the patient’s illness.

It is important for the dementia caregiver to keep their patient entertained as this decreases the chance for them to become agitated or harder to deal with. You can keep them busy with activities that they used to enjoy doing or help them learn new skills that increase the chance of building neural connections and sometimes increase the chance of them recovering.

When taking on the role of a dementia caregiver, please insure that you also take care of yourself. Utilize caregiver health tips to de-stress such as medication to keep you sane. Learn effective communication skills, talk to other dementia caregivers, continue training, and keep an open mind. All of these are effective methods to be the best dementia caregiver you can be.

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Alzheimer’s Caregiver Jobs

An Alzheimer’s Caregiver is someone who will help to take care of your spouse, parents or grandparents as they grow older and when you are unable to care for them any longer. Hiring an Alzheimer’s caregiver is a great way to keep your loved one in their home or yours without moving them to a long term facility. If you are looking for that Alzheimer’s caregiver job, be better equipped by learning all the symptoms. Understanding the signs and symptoms will help caregivers provide the proper and more patient care.

Alzheimer’s Symptoms

A person with Alzheimers will forget things easily and need to be reminded what they were doing or what they were saying at any time. This memory loss is one of the most common signs and can result in forgetting names of their loved ones. Other signs include having trouble focusing on tasks like trying to pay your monthly bills. Later they may experience much trouble with the things they used to do routinely such as taking out the trash.

At the beginning onset of Alzheimer’s it may not be very noticeable that a person actually has Alzheimer’s until they are diagnosed by a doctor. Late in life as the Alzheimer progresses, which may be a few months or even years, an Alzheimer’s Caregiver may be needed if round the clock care is needed. The person that is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s may get to the point where they wander off, leave the stove on or the water running. These can all lead to a dangerous way of living for the person.

As a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s, you will have to be on top of their appointments and medical checkups. It is important to have organizational skills and the ability to keep yourself punctual to their schedules. This goes for life and death occasions when you have to give them their medicine on a daily basis. There are other important duties such as helping them with their bills and managing their finances.

An Alzheimer’s Caregiver job could be rewarding and the answer to helping others take care of their loved ones. When are you helping them with running errands, cleaning, bathing, exercise and even cooking, keep in mind, how much their lives have improved, even if they are sometimes unable to express that feeling due to their conditions. As with any caregiver job position, the level of trust between caregiver and cared one must be strong, because you are now part of their life.


Caregiving for Alzheimer Patient

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease in which the condition worsens over time. As more parts of the brain are being damaged, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease become more severe. Patients experience frustration and grief as they struggle with gradual loss of function and fading memory. Their family members grieve as well, as they observe their loved ones losing their abilities, personality and function. Anger, confusion, sadness and depression are common reactions in families experiencing anticipatory grief.

Provide Caring as a Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Being an Alzheimer’s caregiver takes energy and courage. As the patient’s mental abilities decreases, the caregiver’s responsibility increases. Thus, the caring for a patient with Alzheimer’s disease could become increasingly difficult and stressful over time. Many Alzheimer’s disease caregivers experience intense stress as they struggle to understand the patient’s behavioral changes and determine what interventions will work for the problems that arise each day. This stressful task can have a detrimental effect on the caregiver’s emotional, social and physical well-being.

Preventing Stress as a Alzheimer’s Caregiver

One possible way that the caregiver burnout could be reduced is by coping with the task more effectively and develop skills in caregiving. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses and the behavior of the patient become more complex, caregivers need to understand the patient’s changing behaviors and learn techniques to manage the behavioral difficulties. Thus, it is particularly important that the caregiver acquire knowledge about the Alzheimer’s disease and its progression, skills and strategies for managing the challenges, and information on the available resources to turn to when the need arises. This is even more essential if the caregiver is new to the task. If a new caregiver has totally no knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease and is greatly lacking in coping skills, the task of caregiving is even more difficult.

Dealing with Dementia Patient

Dementia is a problem that not only affects the individual but the effects are widespread through the family. For this reason, a dementia caregiver is a very valuable tool in alleviating the hardships that families experience.

  1. Spread the responsibilities and time spent with the dementia patient with others. It is hard to reason with a dementia patient because they do not have the same mind as you.
  2. Agree with their arguments as long as it does not affect your well-being and their health. If they say the sky is green, agree with it. It may seem counterintuitive but as long as there is nothing life threatening, let them win the arguments.
  3. If the person is accident prone, make sure to pay careful attention when they are rising up and sitting down on furniture. Be especially careful in wet and slippery environments such as a bathroom or smooth floors. If they need assistance in the toilet, install grab bars and toilet rails.

Along the way, as the caregiver encounter more and more unexpected new challenges, the caregiver will definitely feel overwhelmed by these problems. The stress experienced by the caregiver would certainly be greater and could result in a detrimental effect on the caregiver’s well-being, which in turn could result in an adverse impact on the patient’s situation.

It is also important to note that every patient deserves the highest standard of care possible and an equipped caregiver is more able to provide the high standard of care required for the patient. At times, although an elderly person with severe impairment in memory and mental function may need to be communicated with at the primary functioning level of a small child, but he or she also needs, and has a right to be respected as an adult. A trained caregiver would learn the communication skills required to interact with the patient and be more equipped to provide proper care for the patient. Hence, training is necessary for the caregiver to acquire the appropriate skills needed for the job and enable the caregiver to provide the standard of care required. The patient will benefit from the quality of care provided.

Thus, the importance of developing skills in caregiving should not be overlooked. It would certainly help the caregiver to cope with the task and reduce the stress of caregiving. At the same time, the caregiver will be able to provide the standard of care required and the patient will benefit from it. Furthermore, if caregivers find that their approaches are effective, they will gain confidence and increased satisfaction doing the task. In this way, hopefully, caregivers would end up finding meaning and purpose in the difficult task of caregiving instead of finding the task a daunting one.

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