The quiet stillness of morning had always been a soothing part of the routine Pat shared with her husband Tom. It was a private time for her to have her coffee, read the newspaper, and check emails. Tom rose a little later, made his own breakfast, and began to work at his desk. But now, with the progression of Tom’s Alzheimer’s disease, Pat counts her personal time among the many things which have slipped away.
What does it mean when someone is said to have dementia? For some people, the word conjures up scary images of “crazy” behavior and loss of control. In fact, the word dementia describes a group of symptoms that includes short-term memory loss, confusion, the inability to problem-solve, the inability to complete multi-step activities such as preparing a meal or balancing a checkbook, and, sometimes, personality changes or unusual behavior.
When Children Grieve, John W. James, Russell Friedman and Dr. Leslie Landon Matthews To watch a child grieve and not know what to do is a profoundly difficult experience for parents, teachers, and caregivers. Yet, there are guidelines for helping children develop a lifelong, healthy response to loss.
In When Children Grieve, the authors offer a cutting-edge volume to free children from the false idea of "not feeling bad" and to empower them with positive, effective methods of dealing with loss.
This groundbreaking two-part report from the National Center on Caregiving at Family Caregiver Alliance calls for significant improvement in health care and long-term care that relies too much on families without recognizing and assessing family caregivers' own support and health needs. Caregiver assessment is an essential component of comprehensive care for frail elders and adults with chronic or disabling conditions, particularly dementia.
How does having a family member with dementia affect children? The answer: It depends on the age of the child, the severity of the memory loss and the child’s relationship to the person with dementia. The better you understand how the disease affects your loved one, and how you handle your own process of loss and adapting to change, the better you can help your child.
As caregivers, we often use intuition to help us decide what to do. No one ever gave us lessons on how to relate to someone with memory loss. Unfortunately, dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is counterintuitive; i.e., often the right thing to do is exactly opposite that which seems like the right thing to do. Here is some practical advice:
My father was screaming in the nursing home. The staff had tried changing any number of his medications, but nothing stopped his agitation until the physician ordered Vicodin, a strong painkiller. I called the physician and asked him to assess what might be causing my father’s pain. The physician suggested it might be arthritis. In a calm voice, I suggested that perhaps the pain was from something more serious—would he please do an evaluation? He told me that this would be hard to do since my father has dementia and can’t tell him what hurts.