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It's always surprising to me when I find that Direct Care Staff in an Alzheimer's, dementia or Memory Care setting have not learned dementia basics. Without learning these, we can never create care which helps people with dementia to feel safe with us.
Step Two in Understanding Dementia
For me, one of the most profound and surprising processes we witness in the person with dementia is the profound journey towards finding peace. Yet, it is also often totally misunderstood, misinterpreted or -- amazingly -- not even noticed by family and caregivers. So, let's all notice from now on. Watch out for these examples of the process at work.
Step One In Understanding Dementia
Many caregivers, including Direct Care staff in Alzheimer's or Memory Care Unites, often do not fully grasp just how a person is changed by dementia. When we fail to understand that, we can find ourselves needlessly struggling or even making difficulties for ourselves. It needn't be like that. To make life easier, read on.
What Does Dementia Eat?
People with dementia may change their eating habits and want a different diet from the one they followed before they had dementia. We want them not to get too fat, nor too thin, so we may have to find new ways to get them eating. Try some of these approaches.
What Can't Dementia Do?
Caring for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias can be challenging, of course. One of the biggest challenges is that it is so easy for the rest of us to forget what people with dementia can't do. Quite often, the difficulty of caring for the one who has dementia is that we caregivers don't quite get it. So,. here are some of the things people with dementia can't do. Expect plenty of individual variation.
Dementia - Done Right
Family caregivers are the good guys. They take on difficult tasks they know little about and struggle to have it be okay. And then there's dementia. The disease that defies you day by day by changing all the time. As the average family caregiver would say, "ARRGH!" But wait, maybe this will help.
Dementia Family Caregiver Bonus
Everyone knows looking after someone with dementia can be very difficult. It can and it sure is extra helpful if you aren't related to the person.
What Would He Like?
It's astonishing how unintentionally rude people can be to elders. Even their doctors. Without meaning to.
Walking With the Old to Death's Gate
It's scary when you first care for an elder who's dying. We don't get so much practice at that right now, and I wasn't so sure about what to do. I didn't understand then that a good death for an old person is a great gift for any of us. It becomes a teaching you never forget.
When you first start getting into elder care, it's really hard to know what to do. We don't come with the knowledge so easily these days. We've just left a century in which no-one thought they'd be looking after family members after WWII. We don't have the habit. We make mistakes. I'd like to apologize for mine.
Does Anything Good Happen in Dementia?
Alzheimer's and other dementias get a bad rap in our age-terrified society. It's everything most aging people never want to happen to them. It's the number one Not Wanted disease. So, is there any upside to dementia? Consider the following.
Dementia - Good Caregiver - Bad Caregiver
A lot of our stress as caregivers is to decide we have certain duties that actually cannot humanly be managed. To let yourself off doing the impossible, read on. And have a good day!
What If it Isn't Alzheimer's?
You do know, don't you, that the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is merely a default diagnosis. When a list of other things have been looked for and not found, then the diagnosis is "a dementia of the Alzheimer's type."
Present Moment Dementia
Much of the agony of families dealing with dementia is in picture-making torments. The questions, "Can we syop Mom's dementia?" or "Will this happen to us? -- which are false questions. Flase in taht they are jot relevent to care-in-the-moment. The moment is the only place that people with dementia live.
Grateful to Grandma
I'm not talking about my Grandma. It's your Grandma I'm grateful to.
Being a Family Caregiver
It's a whole new job for most of us, becoming a caregiver to a family member. Managing the complex daily routine, the decisions and, for that matter, the rest of your family. How do people do it?
What Does Dementia Forget?
Most of us dementia caregivers get into trouble because we forget what dementia forgets. Believe me, I know. I'm almost as bad as you are. But not quite.
Becoming a Successful Dementia Caregiver
Your Mom has Alzheimer's, or a very similar dementia. You've decided to become her caregiver. How can you make the task easier for yourself and helpful for Mom? Not by working hard, perhaps, as much as learning the right way to make life easier.
So they say your Dad has Alzheimer's. They did the whole work-up. MRI, Cat scan, the lot. Then they said your Dad had Alzheimer's. So, does he?
When Dead Relatives Come to Visit
Doctors call them hallucinations and delusions and everyone gets upset about them. Sometimes family members want to call in psychiatrists to fix them.
Everyone Gets Dementia
When one person in a family has dementia, everyone has dementia. Not because it's contagious, but because everyone has to learn it, make allowance for it, deal with and live with it, so all can be reasonably at peace.
She sat on the edge of her bed, in her shabby room, wearing a folksy flannel nightdress that reached from neck to floor. She smiled and that's when I remembered.
Dementia and Time Zone Problems
It's great that you're looking after Grandma. Unlike your Mom, you take Grandma pretty much as she comes. And that works well for her. But you would like her to remember who you are. Of course.
Making Sense of Dementia
We are encouraged by the use of the word dementia to believe that there is nothing meaningful going in within the person who has it. This creates a climate which could not be more destructive to both people with dementia and their caregivers. And, that whole idea of dementia is old-fashioned, bigoted and just plain wrong. Here's how to start making sense of dementia.
Healing With Alzheimer's Caregiving
You might be surprised how often siblings fight over a parent with dementia. They not only fight over where the parent will live, but also what kind of care, who will give it and, of course, how it gets paid for.
The Secret Dementia
We think of Alzheimer's dementia as largely an old-age development. Supposing though it takes much longer than we think to develop? Decades even. Are there any signs we could possibly look for to know whether our own Mom and Dad might be heading down the dementia road?
When Dementia is Invisible
We all think we know what dementia looks like -- although actually we're often wrong about that. But hardly anyone realizes that there is a lengthy period when dementia is invisible and known only to the person it's developing in. Here's how I found that out.
Don't Be Scared of Hospice
All too many families delay getting the valuable help and support of hospice because they are too reluctant to even mention that someone may be dying. Because of this, the dying don't get the help, comfort and support they need and neither do their families get the guidance they need to be true helpers and comforters to someone who is dying.
The Go-To Grandparent
Old enough to know better, yes, but do you DO better? Does your family love to see you driving up in your RV? Or, do they throw their baseball caps in the air and cheer as you head back to Florida? Find out why.
85-Year-Olds Getting Alzheimer's - Yeah Right!
Is it really true that half of everyone aged 85 and over has Alzheimer's? The National Institute of Health and the Alzheimer's Association says so. And they couldn't be lying -- could they? But supposing they were not being totally truthful. Try these thoughts on for size.
Is it Bad to Make Dad Go Into Care?
Good families have bad times over care decisions about their elders. Supposing your Dad needs care but he refuses to go into long-term care -- do you have to take him home? What about that Biblical injunction to Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother? If we don't take him in, are we bad people?
Fixing Mom's Dementia
When your brothers told you the doctor said Mom had Alzheimer's, you gave up your job to come home and look after her. You wanted to do that. It's been a month now and Mom doesn't seem pleased to have you around.
Does Mom Have Alzheimer's Or is it Dementia?
People are still very confused about the difference between Alzheimer's disease and dementia -- and how do you know which one your elderly parent has? Read on.
Feeling Mad at Dementia Mom
Caregivers are usually pretty good people. Stressed maybe, but pretty good. That's because people willing to even try to take on the care of a parent with Alzheimer's or dementia are on the side of the angels. But sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you feel really angry. What to do then?
Dementia Mom Follows Me Everywhere
Family caregivers often find it very frustrating when a parent with dementia shadows them everywhere, even to the bathroom. What can be done to stop this behavior?
Why Do Alzheimer's People Wander?
When we're looking at a difficult behavior in a person with Alzheimer's dementia, it's always smart to ask why. Good caregivers always do that. Even if we're guessing why, we can probably come up with good solutions. So, let's guess why people wander.
What Stresses Alzheimer's Caregivers Most?
Alzheimer's caregivers are known for being among the most stressed caregivers of all. Family members are especially hit by stress. So, where are they most stressed? Read on.
Bad Brother Steals Mom From Care Home
In unhealthy families, adult children may well take the opportunity to steal an ailing parent in old age. If this happens, what can be done about it?
Companionate Care in Dementia
I call it companionate care. That's the kind of care-giving which is relational, friendly, non-blaming and in which caregiver and companion hang out together, doing stuff, not doing it, whatever.
Getting the Elderly to Take Their Medication
Your mom lives alone. Does she take her medicine the way she should? Can you make her?
Hospice Care - How to Get It
Hospice care is one of the greatest gifts any family can give to itself. It helps everyone involved in an elderly parent dying.
Hospice Care - What is It?
Families are often very nervous about choosing hospice care for Mom or Dad. They don't now how to talk about death. They aren't even sure hos Hospice can help. Learn more here.
We can say anything bad thing we want to about Alzheimer's. We can use ugly and demeaning language about people with dementia. We can't do that in general any more. Why do we still do it about this illness?
Dementia Is Not Mental Illness
The language of psychiatry belongs with psychiatric conditions. When we apply it to non-mental illnesses, like Alzheimer's dementia, all we do is create barriers to relating with the person we care for.
Telling Dementia Lies
The psychiatric term for a person with dementia making up stories is confabulation. For family caregivers, the term might be telling lies. If we try to understand what's really going on, then we can drop the finger-pointing terms and, oh heck, just enjoy it.
The Soul of Dementia
Maybe you think there's nothing much left inside your Grandma now she's so far down the Alzheimer's road. You're wrong. Read about Phyllis.
Why Does Dementia Mom Make Up Stories?
Family caregivers are often puzzled by the way that their family member with dementia seems to be making up stories. Are they deliberately lying? If not, then why ARE they inventing untrue events? Read on to find out the truth behind those lies.
Dementia Lets the Secrets Out
Sometimes, when a parent has Alzheimer's dementia, that's when all the family secrets come out. Or do they? How to we know if a person with dementia is telling the truth or just making everything up? Read on for guidelines.
Training Dementia - Dad
So, as a way of helping your Dad overcome his Alzheimer's dementia, you've been re-training him. Oh good, so how's that going for you?
Is Alzheimer's the Most Common Dementia?
If your Mom begins to be forgetful, plus less able to live her life and clearly slipping in her capacity to think things through, do daily tasks like shopping and keeping house, you might think she has Alzheimer's. Does she?
Alzheimer Granny Wants Her Mama
Marion has brought her 84-year-old mother to live with her. Her mother has been diagnosed as having a dementia of the Alzheimer's type, In the afternoons, her mother typically cries because she wants her Mama. Her Mama of course has been dead for many years. Because of her memory issues, Alzheimer Granny can't remember this. What can Marion do?
Can We Stop Mom Sundowning?
The sundowning syndrome refers to the late afternoon period of agitation and emotional upset which affects many people with dementia, Alzheimer's and otherwise. Is that inevitable or can we help reduce sundowning? Yes, we can. Here's how to make a plan.
What's it Like Have Dementia?
People often wonder what dementia feels like from inside the person who has it. Based on 20 years of caring for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias, here are some possible answers to that question.
Long-Distance Care Giving For Your Mom Or Dad
Many people live and work far from where their elderly parents live. Is it possible to be a long-distance caregiver? It's possible, though not easy. Here are some things to think about to help you do it.
Caregiving in the Right Time Zone
One of the hardest changes for families to accept, from what I see, is old age. As someone who often gets to watch families do the dance of caregiving, I can tell you this can be a painful adjustment for them.
Elder Abuse by Family Members
One of the family care giving issues that is hardly ever spoken of, is the abuse of one elder by his or her spouse. It puts adult children in very difficult positions and solutions are hard to find. Here are some suggestions to try.
Dealing With Mom's Doctor
Getting older is a complicated journey. So, it is older patients and their family members who have to undertake the training of their doctors.
Why Your Family Doesn't Visit You More Often
Elders sometimes really don't look at their own communications with others in the family. They have their style -- and that's supposed to do it. "They can take me as I am," is more often spoken by someone whose family doesn't take them at all. Can old dogs learn new tricks? Well, can you?
Good Timing For Mom-And-Pop Care
So, what do you do about making sure your mother and father are doing fine? There must be a right time, but it's hard to know what the right is. It's even harder to know what to do when you decide it is the right time.
The Caregiving Journey
Most family caregivers start without knowing much. That's okay. Taking the caregiving journey-- it's the same at that other journey you've probably heard talked about. The journey of ten thousand miles, beginning with a single step.
Mom Doesn't Know Me
It's heart-breaking when your mother or father with dementia seems not to know you any more. When they call you by someone else's name. When you've told them ten times in ten minutes your name. How can we live with that sorrow and why even go visit? Read on to find consolation.
Can I Make My Mom Happy?
When adult children look after a parent, the best-intentioned people get side-tracked with non-care issues. One of those issues is whether or not your parent is happy. Find out why.
Orelia Watches the News
One thing few people understand about the very old is all the pathways a person has ever walked merge into one. I learned that from watching television news with a 90-year-old with mild dementia.
Never Argue With Dementia
One of the most frustrating things that family caregivers do to exhaust themselves is to argue with their family member who has dementia. Why is it so exhausting? Because you can't win. Try some of these other methods to make everyone's day more bearable.
Did Dad Get Dementia in the Hospital?
It is not at all uncommon for an older person admitted to a hospital or moved to a rehabilitation unit to seem to have dementia. Why? And what happens next?
Is it Rude to Boss Your Mom and Dad?
When your elderly parents need some help, is it okay to insist they get it? What if they tell you they're managing just fine? Is it disrespectful to insist on intervening. Let Miss Caregiver Manners advise you on a difficult area of elder reality.
10 Things They Can't Make You Do When You're Old
When family members get to work on caring for their elders, they often over-step the mark of what they should do. They want to clean up their act and get them living right. This outlines what you really should not try to make elders do, even for their own good. Just like the rest of us, elders have the right to live life wrong.
Your mother was always frugal, but you keep finding large stashes of canned goods in the pantry. Things you know she doesn't even like to eat. Is this connected with her recently diagnosed Alzheimer's dementia? Why yes it is. reading on to decode the secret of your Mom's behavior.
10 Factors in Dementia
As an Alzheimer's caregiver, I've always looked for clues in a person's life. Why did Alzheimer's happen to this person? The diagnosis of Alzheimer's is a default diagnosis.
Is Dementia Crazy?
Hollywood gave us the picture of dementia as craziness. Having dementia is nothing like having a serious mental illness. However, too often, serious mental illness in elders is dismissed as dementia. Read on.
Peace in Dementia
So many people with dementia have traumas in their past that haunt them. As their caregiver, I've often wondered whether trauma is part of what creates dementia. This article shows how one person shared her trauma and what resulted.
Are your own parents not doing so well now they're old? Do they make it impossible for you to talk to them about these difficult issues? Why don't you just print out this article and make sure they get to read it?
Can You Catch Dementia?
Most caregivers of people with Alzheimer's dementia are, at various times, convinced that dementia is indeed contagious. Take this Ten Question to find out if you caught dementia.
Alzheimer's Death Or Was it Really?
Alzheimer's is commonly cited as the official cause of death in those diagnosed as having the disease. But is it really? And, for that matter, is Alzheimer's really Alzheimer's? Read on.
Dementia Sibling Wars
The family caregiver of a parent with dementia has a hard enough time caregiving anyway. Then there are the sibling wars. And you thought your family was difficult. Read about these.
Becoming Your Mother's Mom
It's a whole role change when your elderly mother with dementia needs to be cared for. A whole new set of rules. Here's how to change those rules.
Dementia Hits Out
There's a lot of talk out there about how people with Alzheimer's dementia get violent. What we don't talk about enough is how we caregivers might also be contributing to that. Let's talk about how we can help violence NOT happen.
Having Alzheimer's is a pretty lonely way of life, Scary too. Pets are a great comfort and resource for people with Alzheimer's. They entertain, they comfort and they never remark on your poor memory. In fact, they are so accepting of people with dementia, maybe we could learn something from them.
Alzheimer's and Broken Childhood
In my 20-year work with people with Alzheimer's dementia, I would estimate that about 90 percent of those I knew had undergone difficult early life. This was so consistent a pattern that I am sure it isn't a coincidence.
Alzheimer Granny Wanders Away
Here's what can happen if didn't think you needed a plan. Plus, how to make one.
All Alzheimer's All the Time
We hear the word Alzheimer's used so much. Yet, as a long-term caregiver, I have come upon many instances of apparent misuse of the word. In some cases, people were able to get real help with a more accurate diagnosis of what was going on. So, as caregivers, we need to be sensible and alert to possibilities. Read on to find out how.
How do you keep people with Alzheimer's on their diets? Or even eating sensibly? Do you even really have to? Read on for some caregiver input.
Ten Alzheimer's Questions
What do we say in answer to repetitive questions from people with Alzheimer's? How many times do we have to keep doing it? The real answer is to figure out the real question. Then answer that. Learn how to stop those frustrating questions asked over and over. Read on.
One of the hardest things for family caregivers is when their mother or father with Alzheimer's dementia keeps repeating the same questions over and over. What can they do? Read on.
Direct Care Welcoming
One of the hardest things that ever happens to elders with Alzheimer's dementia is the day they go into long-term care. They are at great risk for falls in those first two weeks and high risk for death within two months. They are also high income producers for a facility. How can we welcome them and reduce the trauma for them? Read on.
How to Avoid Alzheimer's Violence
Does Alzheimer's make people hit caregivers? No, caregivers make people with Alzheimer's feel driven to hit us. As caregivers, we must grow our own communication skills. With those, people with dementia won't feel they need to hit us. Read on for helpful guidelines.
Decoding Alzheimer's Questions
It's very hard for Alzheimer's caregivers when the same things are said over and over again. What can be done to stop it? Read on to find out the big secret of how to stop that annoying repetition.
Showers and Dementia
Most people do their best to stay clean and fragrant all life long. A refreshing shower or soak in the tub helps us feel good.
Dementia Time Zones
People with dementia often seem confused about where they are, what day, date and year this is. People usually think this is meaningless delusion caused by dementia itself. But they are often actually doing valuable repair work on their own life path. And we can help them come to peace. Read on.
Direct Care Staff
Direct care work with people with dementia can be hard and, at best, presents us with a fairly demanding day. We have to bring some good attitudes with us and work on developing some special approaches to the care of those with Alzheimer's and other dementia.
Direct Care Training
Direct care is usually task-oriented. However, to be a successful dementia care person involves understanding how to successfully make a relationship with each resident. How to nurture the spirit. This is part 1 of a ten-part basic approach to effective dementia care.
Alzheimer's Or Not?
How do we know what Alzheimer's looks like? You may think you do, but you're probably wrong. Or not. Check it out.
Alzheimer's has a bad reputation. Angry people, running away, hitting caregivers. Whoa, folks, wait a minute here. Since people with Alzheimer's aren't going to be writing this article, let me try to speak for them. I can point you away form the wrong directions.
Alzheimer's in Your Face
You're a caregiver to a person with dementia. Maybe you're a family caregiver, maybe you're a professional. Your work is the same in the ways that matter most. You are the communicator, guide and friend to someone who needs that.
The big divide in whether someone with dementia stays home or goes into care is around the bathroom hygiene issue. Yet, if you want to keep your family member home still, this can be easier than you might think. Here's how.
Dementia is one thing and how we handle it is another. The most successful family caregivers learns how to relate with their family member who is now changed by their illness. Here's a few useful guidelines.
Alzheimer's vs Dementia
In my family caregiver seminars, the question most frequently asked is: what is the difference between Alzheimer's disease and dementia? Here is a non-medical caregiver answer to that question.
That late-afternoon agitation that people with Alzheimer's and other dementia may display. How do we handle it? What causes it?
Even if dementia is a whole family problem, and it is, the struggle to get the actual caregiving done is often a family war. The question is, if you're the designated caregiver, do you win or do you lose? And what are you going to do about it?
Alzheimer Granny Goes to the Doctor
When people with dementia go to see the doctor, it can be very frustrating for the family caregiver. This is how you can make it work better for all of you -- Alzheimer Granny, the doctor and you as the family caregiver.
Alzheimer Granny Takes a Shower
When a family member develops dementia, it's often difficult to get that person in the shower. Here's why and what to do about it.
If we're to do something about those annoying repetitions of speech from people with dementia, we have to start by reminding ourselves just why it goes on. In the most obvious sense, it's because of dementia.
Sometimes family members are reluctant to be with the elders in their family who have dementia. While there may be a whole difficult history to this, often it just comes down to not knowing what to say. This is a brief guide to solving that dilemma.
Alice wasn't used to having a caregiver. I was her first. She was 89, had some dementia, tough and determined to be her own woman. How hard could this be, I had said to myself when I met the tiny little silver-haired old woman with her gnarled arthritic hand tight on her cane. This is a story of Frena and Alice on their journey together.
Over 66 percent of all Americans are caring for someone else. How come we pay so little attention to what is a vast change in our society? It's like a secret underground social movement -- an army of ordinary people undertaking an extraordinary task.