• Kathryn Watson

Challenges of Caring For Someone With Dementia


Your heart is in the right place. You really intend to care for your mom, dad, husband ,wife or someone else you really care about. After all, that is what you would want someone to do for you, right.

The thought of placing your loved one somewhere for someone else to care for them just rips your heart out. But the truth is this job is a lot more challenging that your thought it would be.

" I thought, how hard can it really be?" Susan told me. But after a year Susan was exhausted. In fact she was so exhausted she ended up in the hospital.

The 3 big challenges you will face as a caregiver for someone with dementia are time, stress and not enough experience. Let's take a look at what you are in for.

Time

Elderly people move slow. Someone with Alzheimer's or another type of dementia even slower. They may physically have trouble walking, shuffling their feet. Moreover they will forget what they are supposed to be doing and become easily distracted. Just getting someone with this disease dressed in the morning may be quite a chore. They may have forgotten how to put on a shirt or pants. They may not understand why they need to get dressed.

All of these challenges will put increased pressure on your time. The more the disease progresses the more direct support and care your loved one will need. You will be left with little if any time for yourself.

Stress

This lack of personal time will lead to stress. Caring for anyone is stressful. You are constantly reminded that the one you love is not going to get better. With a dementia diagnosis that stress is compounded. Dementia behaviors may begin to raise their ugly heads. A caregiver may have to deal with extreme anxiety, depression, sundowning, and shadowing.

The stress often becomes overwhelming. On top of that well meaning people will try to tell you what to do. Not taking care of yourself could land you in the hospital like Susan.

Not Enough Experience

Nobody taught you how to deal with dementia. You didn't take Care Giving 101 in school because there is no course. Chances are like many caregivers you fell into this role after some kind of crisis. Your heart is there. You want to give your loved one the best care possible.

But without the knowledge and the experience are you really the right person for the job?

Turning over the main care giving duties to someone else does not make you a failure.

Remember this is not about you.

This is about the person you love and what is best for them.

When you allow a professional to care for mom, you become her daughter again. Doesn't Mom deserve to have her daughter back in her life?

It is not the easiest thing to do. But then, no one ever said doing the right thing would be easy.

Pat Mack has been helping families make the right decisions to care for someone they love since 1997. Email Her Today for more information.

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