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.
Communicating with a loved one with a brain disorder can indeed be challenging. Finding the right words and getting your point across are difficult under normal circumstances.This difficulty is often compounded by your role as a caregiver. And although there are no easy solutions, following some basic guidelines should ease communication, and lower levels of stress both for you and for the care recipient.
"The care you give to yourself is the care you give to your loved one," said a caregiver. Absolutely the easiest thing for someone to say and the hardest thing to accept is the advice to take care of yourself as a caregiver. It is often hard to see beyond the care tasks that await you each morning.
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a degenerative condition of the front (anterior) part of the brain. It differs from other causes of dementia such as Alzheimer’s, Lewy body, and Creutzfeldt Jakob’s diseases. FTD is currently understood as a clinical syndrome that groups together Pick's disease, primary progressive aphasia, and semantic dementia. The areas of the brain affected by FTD—the frontal and anterior temporal lobes—control reasoning, personality, movement, speech, social graces, language, and some aspects of memory.
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.