Today, as more Americans live longer, an increasing number of married couples must cope with a spouse who is living with dementia. And while Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are said to impact the entire family, the spouses in the marriage are affected the most.
Marriage and family dynamics experts advise that when a spouse is diagnosed with dementia, the lives of both spouses will change dramatically. Therefore, it is important for both partners in the marriage to recognize the challenges and know what to expect.
Now that the New Year has arrived, it’s the ideal time to think about resolutions that can pay long-term dividends for your health and well-being.
Today, one of the most important health resolutions you can make is reducing your risk of dementia. Why? Because health experts say various forms of dementia now affect more than 5 million seniors in the U.S., and the number is growing every year.
For most of us, the holidays are a time for family and friends, good spirits and good food. However, for those living with a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia, the holiday season also brings special concerns and challenges.
How will mom react to the bright lights and decorations? Can we still have company or will dad become agitated and stressed? Will visitors be uncomfortable if mom no longer recognizes them? Will we have to change our holiday traditions?
As any devoted caregiver can tell you, coping with the realities of a senior loved one with dementia is fraught with emotional challenges. As a result of your loved one’s dementia – and through no fault of their own – there are times as caregivers when our hearts break, our frustrations mount and we feel a deep sense of guilt.
All of these emotions can quickly come to the fore when your loved one looks at you and says, "I just want to go home."
Moving from a familiar environment to a new location can be difficult for any of us. However, moving for a person living with dementia can be particularly challenging, say memory care specialists.
Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia typically cling to their familiar surroundings and established routines. When their sense of security is disrupted, as in the case of a move, loved ones with dementia can become disoriented, anxious and agitated.
The New Year is a time when we look ahead with optimism and dedicate ourselves to living better lives.
If you are a caregiver for a loved one with dementia, the optimism for the New Year might be tempered somewhat by your loved one’s disease and your own life’s increasing challenges as a dementia caregiver. However, the good news is that there are a few simple resolutions that can make your life in the New Year a healthier and happier one.
At-home caregivers of loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia face an increasing number of challenges as the disease progresses. Two of the more challenging symptoms that can present themselves are anger and aggression.
Caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia brings with it many challenges – both physical and emotional. For many adult children, one of the most heartbreaking of these is when a parent no longer recognizes them.
According to dementia care experts, as a parent’s dementia advances, his or her ability to recognize the faces of their loved ones declines. This often results in diminishing family relationships – an unfortunate and unnecessary situation that can be harmful to both the parent with dementia and their adult children.
“Today, many at-home caregivers struggle with creating daily routines that are beneficial to their loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia,” says Heather Miller, Personal Care Administrator at Impressions Memory Careat Bryn Mawr located in Bryn Mawr, PA.
“Caregivers commonly express a variety of concerns such as: How do I organize their day? What routines will mom or dad respond to best? How do I know if I’m doing the right things to relieve their dementia symptoms and improve their quality of life?
“Various studies of memory care caregivers have shown that a high percentage of the them suffer from both physical and emotional exhaustion,” says Sam Streater, Program Director of Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. “In many cases, it is a loving spouse taking care of their husband or wife living with Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia.”
According to Sam, “Memory loss can change the social dynamics for the entire family, but its effect on spouses is typically the most dramatic.“