Caregiver Stress is associated with dementia treatment.Let’s discuss the important role of the caregiver in the treatment of the person with dementia and other forms of memory loss.
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Dementia is a memory loss disease that results in loss of independent functioning and substantial caregiver stress.
While caregivers involve paraprofessionals and professionals, caregiving falls to a significant degree on the family of the person with dementia.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, most of the care for persons with dementia falls on the family, mostly on a spouse and sometimes siblings. Dementia treatment and care-giving and be exhausting. Thus, the term "caregiver stress" has emerged.
In fact, 80% of the in-home care (which may also include dementia treatment) of the person with Alzheimer’s Disease is provided to by family members.
According to the National Alliance for Care-giving, 10.9 million family members and friends provided unpaid care for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of memory loss and significant cognitive dysfunction.
According to a recent study by Ghatak (2011) on a possible support model for dementia patients and caregivers, three important process goals are needed.
First, it is important to do a thorough assessment of the problem areas which need support.
Second, there is management of those interventions that were selected via family meetings and also home visits by those paraprofessional and professional staff. These visits provide support and provide technical expertise as needed.
Third, the caregivers are provided with linkages to resources and services in the community to help accomplish the developed plans and methods.
What are the services that families might seek from a dementia support program?
A. Review of medical and neuropsychological reports to provide clarity and understanding.
B. Social service consultation with an detailed review of activities of daily living, specific areas of functioning, difficult behaviors, supports identified as needed by caregivers, legal planning, financial plans, etc.
C. Assisting the family with linkages to other community supports can be critical. These might include respite care, support groups for caregivers, day programs, meal services, other medical or legal experts, etc.
D. Helping to establish regular family meetings to discuss division of labor, methods of care, stress relief, etc.
E. Open discussions about home safety, home cleanliness, hygiene, and other issues relevant to care.
Caregiving for the person with significant memory loss from brain diseases or injury, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is complex. By following some of the guidelines noted above and reaching out to the community; the burden of caregiver stress can be lessened.
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For more information on memory problems and caregivers see these resources:
Self-Care for Caregivers: A Twelve Step Approach by Pat Samples, Diane Larsen, Marvin Larsen.
Chicken Soup for the Caregiver's Soul: Stories to Inspire Caregivers in the Home, the Community and the World (Chicken Soup for the Soul) by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and LeAnn Thieman L.P.N.
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