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How Can Alzheimer’s Affect The Family

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How a Dementia Diagnosis Can Affect a Family

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Irritability And Mood Swings

In the mid and especially late stages, a person who has dementia may begin to lose control of his impulses.

This is the most alarming effect of dementia, which may lead to hurting another person emotionally.

A person who has dementia may even say tactless things, like Gosh, you look old!, which they would never say before.

In the later stage, more aggressive acts often seem to come out of nowhere, including cursing, arguing, shouting, and even threatening.

As dementia gets worse, the person loses tolerance for a lot of things and situations which makes his or her mood change constantly.

Support For Family Caregivers Is Important For Their Well

Part of living well with Alzheimers is adjusting to your new normal and helping family and friends do the same. Adequate support resources are vital for the individual providing the majority of the care. Experts say that a safety net of support can actually reduce anxiety for caregivers by increasing the perception that resources are available to help handle the stressful situations.

Support can be found in many different forms, including the help of other family members and close friends, partnerships with health professionals, community resources and other useful tools such as support groups, respite care, help lines, online training assistance and outside professional care.

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How To Communicate With Someone With Dementia

If you have noticed that the person with dementia is withdrawing into themselves and starting fewer conversations, it can help to:

  • speak clearly and slowly, using short sentences
  • give them time to respond
  • give them simple choices avoid creating complicated choices or options
  • try not to patronise them or ridicule what they say
  • use other ways to communicate, such as rephrasing questions because they can’t answer in the way they used to

How Do Family Caregivers Care

What Happens When Families Face Conflict Amidst Alzheimer ...

Archbold’s concept of care providers and care managers is useful. Care providers provide hands-on care, dressing, assisting with finances and other daily activities, and care managers arrange for others to provide care, for example a nurse for personal care, an accountant to assist with finances. Spouses tend to be care providers, and adult children and other relatives, care managers. Care providers tend to be more stressed than care managers. Dementia is associated with long care hours and physicallydemanding caregiving. Many studies have found that caregivers of those with dementia have higher levels of burden than other caregivers.,, A 2003 survey of 227 US dementia caregivers found that nearly one quarter provided 40 hours of care or more per week . This included personal care such as bathing, feeding, and assisting with toileting for 65% of caregivers. Over two thirds of caregivers sustained this commitment for more than 1 year and one third for 5 or more years.

Also Check: Etiology Of Dementia

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Today, Saunders House offers a range of services including short-term rehabilitation, traditional nursing care, restorative care, memory care, respite care and specialized care for individuals with visual impairments all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing.

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Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Saunders House/Bryn Mawr Terrace and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.

Managing Feelings And Behaviour Changes

You might notice changes in the way you feel, and those around you might notice changes in your behaviour. For example, some people with dementia become more withdrawn or less patient than they used to be. This may be difficult for other people to understand and accept as they may think you feel differently about them. Try to let them know that these changes are because of the dementia and not because your feelings towards them have changed.

You and the people who care for you may also feel low, stressed or anxious at times. These feelings can affect your relationship. If you or those caring for you find that these feelings are causing problems, talk to your GP. There are also organisations who can help.

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What Happens In Alzheimer Disease

You probably know that your brain works by sending signals. Chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters , allow brain cells to talk to each other. But a person with Alzheimer disease has lower amounts of neurotransmitters.

People with Alzheimer disease also develop deposits of stuff that prevent the cells from working properly. When this happens, the cells can’t send the right signals to other parts of the brain. Over time, brain cells affected by Alzheimer disease also begin to shrink and die.

What Is Known About Caregiving For A Person With Alzheimers Disease Or Another Form Of Dementia

Alzheimer’s strikes early for Triad family

People with Alzheimers disease and related dementias are usually cared for by family members or friends. The majority of people with Alzheimers disease and related dementias are receiving care in their homes. Each year, more than 16 million Americans provide more than 17 billion hours of unpaid care for family and friends with Alzheimers disease and related dementias. In 2019, these caregivers will provide an estimated 18.5 billion hours of care. Approximately two-thirds of dementia caregivers are women, about one in three caregivers is age 65 or older, and approximately one-quarter of dementia caregivers are sandwich generation caregivers, meaning that they care not only for an aging parent, but also for children under age 18.

Caregivers of people with Alzheimers and related dementias provide care for a longer duration than caregivers of people with other types of conditions . Well over half of family caregivers of people with Alzheimers and related dementias provide care for four years or more. More than six in ten Alzheimers caregivers expect to continue having care responsibilities for the next 5 years compared with less than half of caregivers of people without dementia .

The demands of caregiving can limit a caregivers ability to take care of themselves. Family caregivers of people with Alzheimers and related dementias are at greater risk for anxiety, depression, and poorer quality of life than caregivers of people with other conditions.

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Alzheimer’s: A Personal Disease That Affects Families And Society

One year ago, while I was celebrating my graduation from college, it was announced to me that my grandmother was diagnosed with dementia. The signs were there if you knew her, my mother recently said, but she was still hiding it. I realized the truth when she said something repeatedly to me in Creole while I stared back at her, bewildered.

Manman, I stammered in English, I dont speak Creole. But still she persisted until my boyfriend finally realized what she was saying. I dont remember what it is now, but I think she wanted me to sit up straight and, once I did, she left me alone. She returned to Haiti to spend half a year in the comfort of her home, flanked by care, and the two of us rarely communicated despite the fact that our days were punctuated by her daily calls.

She returned to the United States and her condition rapidly deteriorated. She was no longer able to bathe herself and was incontinent. Still active, my grandmother moves rapidly from room to room to lift things and move them to new places pillows to the table, shoes to the desk. When she does not like food shes eating, she no longer possesses the capacity to remember to politely swallow or spit it out onto a napkin, but will simply let chewed pieces dribble down her chin onto the plate with the rest of her unchewed food. My mother, her daughter-in-law, showed her a picture in their bedroom of her and my father, her son.

Whos that? my mother asked.

Why Is This Important?

Policy

Conflicts When A Family Member Has Dementia

All families have conflict in their day-to-day lives. Usually, these conflicts are solved, for better or worse, depending on the problem-solving abilities of each family member. But when one member of the family suffers from dementia, arguments and tension may increase.

This is true because dementia involves numerous stressors that did not exist previously. First, there is often a lack of information about the disease. In addition, its hard to tell how the disease will progress. This creates uncertainty in the family.

Dementia eats the thoughts of the patient and, in turn, destroys the feelings of those who love and care for him or her.

-Nolasc Acarin Tusell-

On the other had, caring for someone with dementia can be expensive. Especially since it may require hiring help, paying for membership at a day center, or placing them in a residence for the elderly.

Conflicts may arise because one family is requiring so many resources and time that theres none left when other family members need help.

Finally, disagreements often come up about how to care for the person with dementia. Not only that, some may also perceive that the right decisions arent being made, that theyre being made out of selfishness rather than the best interests of the patient.

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Effects Of Dementia On Caregivers

Caregivers face many obstacles as they balance caregiving with other demands, including child rearing, career, and relationships. They are at increased risk for burden, stress, depression, and a variety of other health complications. The effects on caregivers are diverse and complex, and there are many other factors that may exacerbate or ameliorate how caregivers react and feel as a result of their role. Numerous studies report that caring for a person with dementia is more stressful than caring for a person with a physical disability.,,

Two models of factors leading to caregiver stress are useful. In the Poulshock and Deimling model, dementia leads to a burden of care which can manifest as strain in a number of ways that can be exacerbated or ameliorated Pearlin and colleagues’ model of caregiver stress outlines four main areas that contribute to caregiver stress: the background context , the primary stressors of the illness , secondary role strains , and intrapsychic strains such as personality, competence, and role captivity of the caregiver ., In Campbell and colleagues’ review of the model, the strongest predictors of caregiver burden were sense of role captivity , caregiver overload , adverse life events outside of the caregiving role and relationship quality.

Give Each Other Space

Understanding Dementia

As the disease progresses, rapidly swinging moods and angry, negative outbursts can take a great toll on caregivers, Johnston says. Plus, more than 90 percent of people with dementia develop behavioral symptoms or psychiatric problems at some point during their illness. Its perfectly OK to calmly say, I need to have some privacy, and leave the room to have a moment of peace, to allow both of you to calm down.

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Dementia Affects The Whole Family

Carrie Steckl earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology with a Minor in Gerontology from Indiana University Bloomington in 2001.She has spent over…Read More

I recently had the pleasure of speaking to a group of high school seniors about dementia. These were no ordinary students they were all members of an advanced placement psychology class taught by one of my favorite teachers when I was in high school. I knew they were already well-versed in basic psychology and brain anatomy, but I wasnt sure how much they had discussed dementia, either in class or at home.

What in the world would teenagers want to know about dementia? And perhaps most importantly, why should they care? Granted, I knew darn well that they should care about dementia the challenge was making this truth relevant and meaningful to them.

Its easy to see why society as a whole should care about dementia. According to the Alzheimers Associations 2013 Facts and Figures Report, an American develops Alzheimers disease every 68 seconds, and more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimers disease right now. One in three older adults dies with Alzheimers disease or another dementia, and Alzheimers disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. This year alone, Alzheimers disease will cost the United States $203 billion that number is expected to rise to $1.2 trillion by 2050 if a cure is not found.

Family

Friends

School

Emotions

The Effects Of Alzheimers On The Family

Be Knowledgeable and Prepared, agitation and confusion, it causes the family a great deal of distress, Since we are continuously doing researches and studies, they impair a persons daily functioning and may affect their ability to live independently, Family and healthprofessions.ucf.eduAlzheimers: Dealing with family conflict Mayo Clinicwww.mayoclinic.orgAlzheimers in the family Harvard Healthwww.health.harvard.edu

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A Caregiver Perspective: Alzheimer’s Is A Family Affair Treatment For Alzheimer’s Disease Must Involve The Entire Family

Alzheimer’s disease affects the whole family.

When family members who suspect their loved ones have Alzheimer’s make an initial appointment with a physician, they likely have already lived through five to seven years of chaos, confusion, anger, and anxiety. In many cases, they’re scared and exhausted.

An individual with Alzheimer’s disease typically experiences both good days and bad during the first seven years: memory loss, wide mood swings, and a certain amount of irrational behavior, but nothing that can’t be dismissed by family members as their loved one “having a bad day.”

Then something happens that can’t be ignored. Perhaps the individual gets up in the middle of the night and leaves the house, gets lost, and the police find him blocks away, scared and confused. Another person might leave a burner on the kitchen stove, which leads to a fire. Or one who has always taken care of financial affairs now has unpaid bills piling up.

It’s at this point that family members need the physician to confirm what they have been worrying about: Their loved one might have dementia.

From onset of Alzheimer’s to death is, on average, 17 years. Since the family members have already lived through five to seven of those years by the time they make an appointment, they face the daunting prospect of 10 to 12 caretaking years ahead.

Let the first visit be with the patient alone.

What Can We Do To Resolve Conflicts

WHO: Dementia รข it affects us all

When a family member has dementia, its going to create a complex situation for the entire family. However, its possible to minimize conflicts.

To do so, its important to modify all the harmful dynamics in the process of caring for someone with dementia.

Its vital to work on communication. Being able to express our emotions and opinions in relation to the disease will help resolve quarrels.

Furthermore, we should remember that a family who communicates and is cohesive will be better able to support each other.

He asks for a hand that holds his, a heart that cares for him, and a mind that thinks for him when he cannot do it someone to protect him on his journey through the dangerous bends and curves of this labyrinth.

-Diana Friel-

In addition, being flexible to the changing roles and routines when caring for a loved one with dementia means greater support.

Finally, we have to learn to make decisions in a focused manner. All of this will help the family adapt to dementia much better and minimize the suffering this terrible disease causes.

Images courtesy of Cristian Newman, Tiago Muraro, and Alex Boyd

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What Are Common Changes That May Affect Dynamics

Knowing which changes to expect and the effects of them can help you and your family to navigate the changes in dynamics better when the time comes. The following changes have been known to disrupt structure and impact families.

These feelings are normal and its important to realize that you are not alone in this. If you need help ask. Whether that means talking to friends and family, taking a break to do something for yourself, or asking family members to do a few things for you . . . anything can help.

Caregiving In The Late Stages Of Alzheimers Or Dementia

As Alzheimers or another dementia reaches the late stages, your loved one will likely require 24-hour care. They may be unable to walk or handle any personal care, have difficulty eating, be vulnerable to infections, and no longer able to express their needs. Problems with incontinence, mood, hallucinations, and delirium are also very common.

In your role as caregiver, youll likely be combining these new challenges with managing painful feelings of grief and loss and making difficult end-of-life decisions. You may even be experiencing relief that your loved ones long struggle is drawing to an end, or guilt that youve somehow failed as a caregiver. As at the other stages of your caregiving journey, its important to give yourself time to adjust, grieve your losses, and gain acceptance.

Since the caregiving demands are so extensive in the later stages, it may no longer be possible for you to provide the necessary care for your loved one alone. If the patient needs total support for routine activities such as bathing, dressing, or turning, you may not be strong enough to handle them on your own. Or you may feel that youre unable to ease their pain or make them as comfortable youd like. In such cases, you may want to consider moving them to a care facility such as a nursing home, where they can receive high levels of both custodial and medical care.

Connecting in the late stages of care

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