September 16, 2013   Elder Care

Caring for Parents with Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease

caring for dementia Currently, approximately 10 million Americans are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, a crippling form of dementia. Caring for a loved one with dementia is a very difficult task.
The first step is recognizing when your elderly parent begins to exhibit the signs of dementia. For family members, it is often difficult to be sure when parents become truly disabled. This occurs when a person cannot change his or her behavior. If a person exhibits dysfunctional behavior that he or she cannot modify or adjust, he or she likely has dementia.
Understand that in addition to being a loved one, you’re also often a caregiver. You become a caregiver when your visits are a necessity, rather than purely social. For example, if you need to stop by several days per week to take out the trash or help with bills, you are a caregiver. Experts say that the sooner you accept the nature of this role, the better.
It is important to learn as much as you can about the condition that your parent has. Dementia is often difficult to recognize and deal with because your loved one will look and sometimes seem exactly the same. Those with dementia often live for many years after their diagnosis, so their loved ones have plenty of time to speak with medical professionals and know what to expect. This knowledge will assist family caregivers in providing adequate care.
If you need to hire a professional caregiver, be sure to hire someone who has been trained to care for patients with dementia. People with dementia can often display unpredictable behavior that ranges from difficult to violent. A professional caregiver should understand the depth of your loved one’s condition so that he or she can provide proper care. This understanding can only come from proper training.

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