Dementia is a disease of the brain that interferes with a person’s ability to think in a normal, logical manner. Although Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, there is more than one kind of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia are diseases of the brain and not a part of normal aging.
Many people with dementia have changes in their behavior. The changes are more pronounced as the dementia progresses. Despite these changes, they continue to have many of the same likes and dislikes they had earlier in life.
Caring for a person with dementia can be time-consuming and stressful. This is especially true as the dementia gets worse and the person being cared for needs more help. Caregivers are at high risk for depression; they should be encouraged to use the many resources and support services available to them both in-person and online.
Communication issues affect people with dementia. As dementia progresses, it is more difficult for them to communicate their needs. Good verbal and nonverbal communication skills are needed for caregivers to provide a high level of care.
Working with people who have dementia can be satisfying and rewarding. But it takes patience, practice, and training to learn to understand the world from that person’s point of view.
People with dementia can still enjoy life. They can enjoy memories, interactions with the people around them, and activities that are matched to their preferences and abilities. Your efforts to make the person comfortable and happy will make a big difference in their final years of life.
This organization provides support, education, and research throughout the United States. They have excellent educational material, a newsletter, fundraising and volunteer opportunities, and a 24/7 helpline.
www.alz.org or call 800 272 3900.
Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center
ADEAR was established by an Act of Congress in 1990 and is part of the National Institutes of Health. Its mandate is to compile, archive, and disseminate information about Alzheimer’s disease for health professionals, people with AD and their families, and the public. The website provides excellent educational material about Alzheimer’s disease, current research initiatives, support services, and much more.
https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers, or call 800 438 4380.
The Eldercare Locator, a public service of the Administration on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is a nationwide service that connects older Americans and their caregivers with information on senior services.
https://eldercare.acl.gov/Public/Index.aspx, or call 800 677 1116.
Family Caregiver Alliance, National Center on Caregiving
FCA is a community-based nonprofit organization that addresses the needs of families and friends providing long-term care for loved ones at home. They provide assistance, education, services, research, and advocacy.
www.caregiver.org, or call 800 445 8106.
Teepa Snow, Dementia Education and Training
Teepa Snow is an advocate for those living with dementia and has made it her personal mission to help families and professionals better understand dementia, and how it feels to be living with the challenges and changes that accompany various forms of the condition, so that life can be lived fully and well. Her company, Positive Approach, LLC was founded in 2005, and offers education to family and professional care partners all over the world. Her training is available through video, online education, and in-person trainings and consulting.
http://teepasnow.com/, or call 877 877 1671.