Dementia

Sharing the MS Journey

Let's face it! We have MS. Actually, only my wife has primary progressive multiple sclerosis. But, having made the choice, I share the journey as her primary caregiver. We are now in our mid 60's but far from finished!

Sara Kruse: Going the Extra Mile

At FCA, we always need help with mailings, filing, organizing the library, tabulating survey results and sorting out our many materials, so when Sara Kruse approached FCA’s Program Director Donna Schempp to ask if we needed volunteer help, we were thrilled.

Sara started coming to the office once a week and soon became invaluable to the workings of FCA. She has helped us for the past three years, but she is now moving to the Northernmost part of California, and will be sorely missed around the office.

Toileting (for dementia)

  • Set up the bathroom to make it as easy as possible for the person to get on to and off of the toilet, e.g. having a raised toilet seat and grab bars.
     
  • Notice when the person gives a sign about needing to use the toilet, e.g. agitation, fidgeting, tugging on clothing, wandering, touching the genital area. Have a routine and take the person to the bathroom on a regular schedule, e.g. every two hours. You may have to respond quickly if someone indicates they need to use the bathroom.
     

Incontinence (for dementia)

Talk to the physician to see if medication, enlarged prostate or a urinary tract infection might be causing the problem, especially if there is a sudden onset of incontinence.
 

Dressing and Grooming (for dementia)

  • Simplify clothing choices by putting out an outfit for the care receiver to wear, or give an option of two outfits. Do not ask open-ended questions like, "What do you want to wear?"—this kind of question can overwhelm someone with dementia.
     

Dental Care (for dementia)

  • Dental hygiene is important for overall health. Poor dental hygiene may lead to heart disease, gingivitis, stroke, osteoporosis, and respiratory disease. In addition to causing bad breath, inadequate dental hygiene can also affect one's ability to eat, chew, and talk. Certain medications can cause "dry mouth." Dry mouth makes it more difficult to eat and swallow, produce saliva, and causes tongue irritation.
     

Communication (for dementia)

  • People respond to our body posture, facial expression, and tone of voice more than our actual words. Your upbeat mood can help keep the person you are dealing with remain calmer.
  • You need to pay attention to the non-verbal clues the person you are caring for is giving you. Understanding his/her feelings may be more important than the content of the conversation. Acknowledge feelings whenever possible.

Here But Not Here—Finding Hope When a Loved One Has Memory Loss

(Aired: November 14, 2007)

Diagnosing Dementia

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.

Adult Day Care for Alzheimer's: The First Day

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. 

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