It can be difficult at times being a caregiver to a person with dementia. Without help from those who’ve been there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. As the disease progresses, the person loses skills and abilities that were once natural, requiring more help from you. He or she may engage in unusual or unsafe behaviors that are challenging to cope with, like hoarding or wandering. Low stress thresholds turn seemingly simple things, like a noise or a particular tone of voice, into triggers that can bring on anger or other kinds of stress.
Sometimes it seems that as soon as you’ve learned how to cope with one situation, things change again. Interventions that worked yesterday no longer work today, or a new difficult behavior emerges. And sometimes a person’s skills, behavior, and memory fluctuate wildly from day-to-day or even within a single day.
There’s no magic wand, but with the right know-how, you can make caregiving easier and safer.
Although most dementias are not curable, there are many positive things you can do to control the symptoms of dementia, including medication, home safety, and care management techniques. This can go a long way toward helping the person still live a meaningful life – to best of their own, unique ability.
Dementia is a brain disorder that seriously affects a person’s ability to carry out daily activities. They lose their ability to solve problems and maintain emotional control, and they may experience personality changes and behavioral problems, such as agitation, delusions, and hallucinations.
Symptoms of dementia can be caused by various conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia (or stroke), Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia (FTD), Huntington’s disease, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Reversible conditions with symptoms of dementia can be caused by a high fever, dehydration, vitamin deficiency, and poor nutrition, bad reactions to medicines, problems with the thyroid gland, or a minor head injury. Medical conditions like these can be serious and should be treated by a doctor as soon as possible.