For those individuals who have not experienced living with and caring for a loved one with dementia, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to imagine the time, care, commitment and strain it entails. Those caregivers who have reached out for support describe the conversations with well-meaning family and friends as often minimizing the condition, referring to it as simple “memory loss”, and that more “patience” is required to manage the loved one.
In reality, there’s much, much more involved in providing dementia care. Often, the person suffering from dementia exhibits not just simple memory loss, but delusions, irrational outbursts, incoherent communication, hoarding, pacing, paranoia, incontinence, difficulty swallowing or eating, wandering, insomnia, and combativeness; and the emotional, physical and financial toll this takes on the caregiver can be debilitating.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over 70% of the four million Americans with dementia are cared for at home by a family caregiver (or caregivers), and the impact on those caregivers can be immense. Depression and other health issues related to stress and anxiety are often experienced. According to a recent study of over five thousand family caregivers, over one third reported six or more symptoms of depression.
The professionals at Nightingale Homecare believe that all those providing dementia care in Phoenix should be educated and on the alert for caregiver stress and depression, and no one should feel alone in attempting to provide assistance to those individuals. Struggling caregivers can find support and relief at many different levels. Some starting points include:
- Counseling and Support Groups: Local support groups and individual counseling with a qualified therapist can be a great beginning to help the caregiver with stress reduction. Support groups can provide understanding and an endless stream of helpful tips, information and community resources for all caregivers dealing with the challenging behaviors of dementia. For information on community support groups and counseling contact Phoenix’s local Alzheimer’s Association.
- Financial Planning Professionals and Legal Advice: It’s imperative to have a power of attorney for health care and financial decisions in place while the person with dementia is in the very early stages and still able to think clearly. The Financial Planning Association can assist families in finding local accredited financial planners. The Elder Care Locator is also an exceptional resource for professional legal assistance.
- Respite Services with Day Care and/or Homecare: For those families that have planned for and can afford long term home care, a multitude of options exist. Finding the right home care support for you and your loved one, is another topic entirely. Nightingale Homecare is an Arizona based home care solution, providing numerous options for families seeking any level of help, from occasional respite care, to intermittent home health visits by a registered nurse, nursing assistant, occupational therapist, or physical therapist, to 24-7 home care support.
Understanding and preparing for a condition like Alzheimer’s and dementia with an open conversation involving supportive family, friends, and health professionals paves the way for long-term support, life and care planning with improved quality of life for all involved. You can rely on Nightingale Homecare as your expert source of support for dementia care in Phoenix during your loved one’s diagnosis, care and progression. Our Caregiver Burden Scale can also help you evaluate your wellbeing as a caregiver and when the time is right to get help. Call us any time at 602-504-1555 or contact us online.