The Waskom Public Library, in conjunction with Marshall Homecare and Hospice, hosted a presentation, entitled “Caregiving to a Loved One with Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease.” A full house of local residents, community leaders, businesspersons and the clergy were in attendance. Marshall Home Care and Hospice Volunteer Coordinator Chelsea Parker conveyed a message of hope and perseverance for caretakers and family members. Ms. Parker was introduced by Louraiseal McDonald, Texas A&M AgriLife County Extension Agent.
Ms. Parker connected with the audience on a more personal level, describing her firsthand experiences with her grandmother, offered a clinical and medical perspective, with the various stages of the diseases that steals memories of those suffering with the onset of Alzheimer’s and impacts the lives of their caregivers. She described early signs and symptoms of the disease, which can help with prompt diagnosis and early treatment, which can temporarily slow down the worsening of symptoms.
A valuable and educational round of services and alternatives were shared to assist in the homecare and hospice attendance of stricken loved ones, suffering deterioration of the brain functions, negatively impacting the ability to think, function, perform basic tasks and properly process verbal communication, with thoughts being replaced by hallucinations in severe cases.
Chelsea provided helpful information and tips on dealing with various manifestations of the disease, such as “sundowning” syndrome, which causes many people with Alzheimer’s disease to become restless, agitated, and irritable around dinnertime.
- These effects are a mystery to medical science. Physical activities need to be balanced with light naps through the day.
- Encourage well-illuminated rooms, sunshine-filled windows and ambient light for positive moods and setting the moments for positive interaction, conversation and memories.
- Keeping an active mind and body, being aware of surroundings, with a plan for the day will offer a greater sense of well-being, security and productivity.
- Think about and discuss available medications and others available in various stages of research. Discuss symptoms with your loved one’s doctors, remain proactive.
Dementia has various side-effects, such as confusion, agitation and even anger. Disorientation is a common factor that is scary and disturbing for you to witness, and for your loves ones to be forced into due to illness. Alzheimer’s Association provides various materials that can be perused, downloaded and printed, free of charge. Knowledge is power, the war is not lost, but the battle rages on.
Ms. Parker explained that the onset of the illness impacts the left side of the brain, impairing functions governing logic, reason, short-term memory, language and motor skills. Patients still have good command of the activities governed by the right side of the brain, such as creativity. Music can be successfully utilized as a healing, soothing measure to comfort and help sedate the individual struggling to find a common and familiar ground as a brief sanctuary of peace and rest.
Stress is a double-edged sword, impacting not only the patient, but also their caregiver. The toll of stress and duress impacts both parties in this struggle, where the loved one with Alzheimer’s is being seemingly transformed into another person, changing before the eyes of their family members. Tried-and-true practical experiences, detailed by Chelsea, varied from physical sign gestures, as means of communication, to printed materials simulating menus for easy understanding and to keep the loved one involved, but not overwhelmed in their decision-making process. Emphasis was added to the emotional needs of the stricken loved ones, in addition to their physical, hygienic needs and regimented care.
Love, faith, hope and patience are key ingredients for devoted caregivers, who rely on God’s healing touch and support of others who find themselves in the same situation.
Teepa Snow of TeepaSnow.com has helpful hints on how to address the rigors and duties of handling and caring for those suffering with Dementia & Alzheimer’s disease.
Marshall Homecare and Hospice offers professional care and services, with support groups for family members and industry professionals engaged in their daily duties of caring for those in need, to include on-call clergy for spiritual needs, in addition to the medical and psychological factors. Printed materials, prepared by Chelsea Parker, were provided to all who attended this highly informative presentation.