It is natural that the focus of everyone’s attention in cases of dementia, Alzheimer’s and other conditions which require long term care support is completely on the patient concerned. And yet due consideration must also be given to immediate family members, especially those involved in one-to-one care for a loved one at home.
If you are a primary caregiver, this can be a round-the-clock role with little time to think about all the usual things in your life. It is a highly stressful and emotional role to undertake, and if family members and close friends do not pull together to help, it can leave you feeling very isolated.
At the outset, the priority is to get the patient with dementia the right medical help. That may require a series of GP consultations, hospital visits, tests, scans and subsequent referrals before a precise diagnosis is confirmed. That will mean a huge amount of time being set aside to organise appointments, organise travel arrangements, keep records of meetings and so on.
“Eldermera can help carry the load when you’re overwhelmed. You may need someone to pull together medical records, provide legal advice to find out what you need to do to manage your loved one’s care and finances or someone to talk to who knows about making difficult family decisions for managing long term care.”
You might need an accountant too to look at financial affairs and future care planning costs, and someone to look at whether a local care home or assisted living facility is suitable for your needs if home care is no longer an option.
All this can place an enormous amount of undue pressure on family members and cause substantial damage and trauma to family life. However, the emotional aspects of living with someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s, or taking on the role of primary carer, can be even more traumatic when the condition is causing more and more behavioural issues with the patient.
Many different behavioural aspects may affect people with dementia, from adverse changes in personality and behaviour through to problems with communication, memory and physical coordination. There are factors to consider if some form of independent living is to be maintained too: managing money, going out of the house, trying to drive a car or whether the patient can be left unsupervised. These considerations place a significant burden on you and those around you.
Ensuring you are well informed about your loved one’s condition is important so you can anticipate problems your family will likely face.
You and your family will cope better if you know about the specific symptoms of a condition and what triggers behavioural problems. It may also seem that you are dealing with several seemingly insurmountable issues at a time, so try to solve them one by one and make incremental changes.
Establishing a living environment with as much independence and freedom as is feasible can also be beneficial, as long as regular routines for meal times, sleep and taking some exercise are maintained.
Finally, and perhaps most crucially, ensure that you get an appropriate amount of rest. This is easier said than done if you are caring for someone at home full time – there simply aren’t enough hours in the day – but sleep and rest will ensure that you are energised to meet the daily challenges presented by dementia.
If you have family and good friends living close by, reach out to them and ask them if they can help by giving you a break from time to time.
Eldermera can help co-ordinate all your elderly care needs together, so you have time to focus on yourself and your family.
Why not schedule a free consultation today?