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Author Topic: Dementia  (Read 661 times)
Absolutely Fabulously Incredibly Shit-Hot Member
Posts: 7433

« on: June 19, 2009, 01:27:16 pm »

I almost put this in the health board but my question is more to do with coping rather than suffering.

I just had a disturbing phonecall from an old friend, the younger half of a couple who are godparents to our children. They were tremendos support when sp1 was born and in hospital and when sp2 was little and most difficult. They were one of the few people willing to take her out to give us a break.

Her husband, (nearly 65) has been recently diagnosed with dementia. It is affecting his frontal lobes and causing outbursts of frustration, change in speech etc.

He will be losing his drivers licence this week.

Current prognosis is 8 to 10 years before resthome care will be necessary but the condition is one that rapidly worsens with long periods of stablity.

Our friend (the wife) is working full time but also having to totally rethink retirement plans, holidays they were going to have this year as well as longer term things like the family trust, power of attunoy, whether they sell the house and shift now rather than later. Basically because it is easier to do now while his marbles are still more intact. There is a family conference (they have two daughter's in their late 20s) this week with the mental health specialist Also she has the task of trying to convince her husband that this is necessary. He is understandably in denile and less understandably frustrated to the point of acting out. His emotional impulse control is impaired.

I haven't seen him in the last 3 months but we will have them around shortly.

What I am after is any tips to help them and any ideas how we can support both in what is to come.
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The way politicians run this country a small white cat should have no problem http://sally4mp.blogspot.com/

« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2009, 01:53:37 pm »

sorry Sp ... what was the question ....?  Smiley

joking aside.... you have entered an area that alas Agony Uncle doesnt know a lot about ..

its a very technical problem and i believe each case is different ...

i did a quick web search [ as you no doubt have done ? ] and did find this little gem of advise ...

its all about everyone in the family and also friends talking and acting together

whilst it is hard on immediate family it is also very frustrating for the "suffer" as i believe they are aware of whats happening around them however their actions are different than before ...

anyway read on this is the little gem and i hope it helps a little  ...

Coping with Dementia in Your Family

Once a diagnosis of dementia has been made, a family has to learn ways of coping with dementia. This can be particularly challenging when a family has three generations who have been diagnosed. The most important thing a family dealing with dementia can do is remain supportive of each other. Every family member will react differently. At times, emotions may be volatile, but understanding about the disease and its symptoms goes a long way toward alleviating the fear and anger that often accompanies a diagnosis.

Get the Facts for Everyone

The physician treating the person with dementia can be a valuable source of information on what the family can expect as symptoms progress. Ask for information geared toward the individual with dementia as well as information to address common concerns of family members and children. Support groups for Alzheimer's and other dementias can be located on the Internet.

Don't Let Caregivers Get Overwhelmed

Caregivers often feel obligated to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the person they are caring for. Unfortunately, when they do this other members of the family can feel neglected. If you are a caregiver, be sure you remember to take care of yourself and other family members. Do not be afraid to ask for help. It is essential to everyone's well-being that you remain in good health and can balance your care responsibilities with your own happiness.

Family Meetings

Dealing with dementia on a daily basis can be demanding. Regular family meetings can help clear the air before things reach a breaking point. Children and teens may express frustration or anger, which is perfectly normal. Allowing them time to discuss their emotions will help them feel more in control. Be sure part of the time is spent praising everyone's contributions, discussing positive signs you've seen in the person with dementia, and talking about possible solutions to dilemmas. Refrain from using this time to give out new orders or chores.

Don't Ignore the Obvious

The worst thing a family can do when coping with dementia is ignore the situation. If a parent or grandparent has dementia, the children and grandchildren need to face the reality of the situation. Even young children can sense when an adult has begun to develop memory loss and personality changes. If caregivers and other family members pretend nothing is wrong, children may assume there is something shameful about the situation, which can lead to emotional problems down the line. Have open, honest discussions with everyone in the family and book an appointment with a physician to get answers you need for your care planning.

The more a family talks and works together, the better able they will be to handle the stress and complexities of dementia.


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« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2009, 02:01:09 pm »

SP - maybe a phone call to the help & support people who care for people suffering dementia would be a good move.  Smiley  Its so sad to watch a friend going through this.
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Laughter is the best medicine, unless you've got a really nasty case of syphilis, in which case penicillin is your best bet.
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2009, 02:14:26 pm »

My work mate is going through this with her father. 

Her mother is stressed and upset but the behaviour, and knowing it is the dementia causing it doesn't lessen the frustration, nor the guilt (she gets tired and then feels guilty for not coping). 

He has access to a day care facility now to give her time to do the things she would normally have done, but cannot now do with him in tow......hairdressers, doctors, coffee with her friends.

Time out for both is critical.  There is support out there, and if his/her GP is on the ball they should be able to access all of it.  It won't change the outcome, and she is going to have stages of grief and anger.  Just be there for her and have a hug and a cuppa ready for when she needs it.  Check she is getting access to all the facilities and support she is entitled to.  Let her vent. 
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