1 — Recognizing the First Signs of Dementia
2 — What is Dementia?
3 — Your First Hurdle: Getting your Loved One to the Doctor
4 — What to Expect From a Medical Evaluation
5 — Understanding a Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease
6 — Understanding a Diagnosis of Vascular Dementia
7 — Understanding a Diagnosis of Lewy Body Disease
8 — Understanding a Diagnosis of Frontotemporal Dementia
9 — Legal and Financial Planning for Dementia Care
10 — You, the Caregiver
11 — Dare: Do Not Argue, Reason, or Explain
12 — The Importance of Keeping it Simple
13 — Exercise for the Brain
14 — Nutrition for Brain Health
15 — Music Therapy Enhancing Cognition
16 — Art as Medicine
17 — Sleep and Brain Health
18 — Preventing Financial Elder Abuse
19 — Your Second Hurdle: When is it Time to Stop Driving?
20 — Traveling With Dementia
21 — Minimizing the Risk of Falling
22 — Perception: Seeing is not Always Believing
23 — Wandering
24 — The Light Beyond Shadowing
25 — The Power of Ice Cream
26 — Dealing With Resistance to Care
27 — The Battle of the Bath
28 — Taking a Fresh Look at Sundowning
29 — Best Practices in Addressing Hallucinations
30 — Your Third Hurdle: Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms
31 — Hiring In-home Helpers: You, the Payroll Manager
32 — Doing Smart Things With Smart Phones
33 — The Toll of Incontinence
34 — Planning for Residential Dementia Care
35 — A Successful Transition to Residential Dementia Care
36 — Supporting Your Loved one in Assisted Living
37 — Hospice Services and the Dementia Patient
38 — Life After Caregiving
When a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or any other form of progressive dementia, the entire family is affected. The progressive nature of the disease refers to the fact that cognitive impairment will continue to increase, and the patient will need ever greater assistance as time goes by. Dementia patients require assistance, and in many cases a close relative or friend steps in to fill this role. Most caregivers embrace their caregiving responsibilities out of love and dedication. But unless the caregiver has had previous experience with dementia care, many will step into the dementia world unaware of the scope of changes to come. Just as I was when first faced with dementia, family caregivers may be surprised with their loved one’s changes in behavior, personality, and reasoning.
Still at the airport, Peggy began to cry uncontrollably. John asked what was wrong and she told him in between sobs that she felt deeply betrayed. He had not followed through with his promise of marrying her on their trip overseas. She was heartbroken and all she wanted was to be taken home to her parents. Startled, John told her they had been married for 46 years. She was not amused.
Ahead of Dementia
Dementia is complex. No two dementia patients are alike. Dementia can be caused by a variety of different conditions, and each condition entails unique symptoms and requires specialized treatments. Patients may find themselves within a web of medical specialties and providers, and may need the help of caregivers to coordinate and prioritize care. Caregivers are also needed to help work out legal and financial plans to accommodate changes brought on by dementia. They need to know what types of care are covered by insurance and what expenses are out-of-pocket. They need information to make realistic plans for the future and, should the patient become unable to care for himself or communicate at any time, they must have tools in place that will allow them to make financial and medical decisions on her behalf. As dementia progressively impairs memory, judgement, perception, and reasoning, caregivers must learn new ways of interacting and communicating with the patient. Sometimes counter-intuitive and against the caregiver’s deepest beliefs, effective dementia communication techniques require skill, courage, and even trickery. Caregivers must become aware of resources in the community and find ways to obtain the best help for the patient and also for themselves.
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most feared diagnoses of our times. If you are beginning the journey into this disease or into another related form of dementia, you may be feeling terrified and alone. This book will give you essential information to start your path to caregiving with confidence, making the best use of the many resources available to you in your community.
You don’t have to do it alone.
Copyright © Luciana Mitzkun. All rights reserved.