We realize that no one really wants to truly talk about the latter parts of dementia and neurodegenerative diseases. We believe that this is the exactly sort of discussion that is needed for people to truly understand what it’s like.
Late stage dementia is the point wherein the brain has sustained a significant amount of degeneration. This means that any normal processes that our brain are able to do are no longer possible. A person who is undergoing the latter stage or advanced dementia is generally considered to be mentally frail. Here are a few things that they may be experiencing:
Significant Loss of Memory
Our brains are where we store our memories. When our brains are no longer healthy or are subjected to a degenerative illness, we no longer have the capacity to store new memories or even access the memories that we have stored for years and years.
As you can imagine, it can be utterly terrifying having to reorient yourself every time you open your eyes. Imagine a life where you constantly need to be told who you are, where you are, and why you are there. What is difficult about this is that there are small periods wherein a person with dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders can slightly remember or recognize family members but it never lasts.
Difficulty Eating, Drinking, and Breathing
It is our brain that tells the other parts of the body what to do. When the brain has sustained significant damage or massive deterioration, even the things that are second nature to us can be a mountain to overcome each time.
The brain is what tells our muscles to chew the food or to drink the water and not put it into our lungs. When the brain is no longer at the point where it can do its job, those in latter stages of neurodegenerative disorder may find extreme difficulty in eating, drinking, or breathing successfully and safely.
It is to be noted that not all of the symptoms listed above may show up or may be something that they experience for sure.
While no one who personally undergoes the latter stages of dementia and neurodegenerative diseases can tell us from their standpoint what it is like, we have enough observation based data. What we also have a lot of is the accounts from family members who were there and got to see how this diseased ravaged someone that they loved.
The tales of those who have witnessed the latter stages of a life wasted away can tell you what it is like from their point of view. What tale do you have to share regarding the latter part of dementia and neurodegenerative disease?
Those that have dementia or neurodegenerative diseases are often robbed of their ability to function normally. Their many symptoms often necessitate the need for a caregiver to be with them 24/7. Being a caregiver can be an extremely taxing job. You, as a caregiver, will be responsible for the well-being of someone who cannot realistically care for themselves and will probably be the least pleasant person when in the throes of an episode.
What is Caregiver Burnout?
Being a caregiver is a demanding job especially when you’re caring for a family member and is receiving no compensation for it. Burnout is normally a word that is associated with work. Feelings of constant tiredness, lack of motivation, drop in production, irritability, and lack of empathy are common symptoms of burnout.
As you can imagine, this is not a good state to be in when you are responsible for someone else.
Being a caregiver has a lot of emotional and physical labor so it is important that anyone undergoing burnout should endeavor to recover from it. Here are a few ways:
While it give you feelings of guilt to stay away from being a caregiver, it is important that you are able to get suitable rest and not be the one who is wholly responsible for someone else. There is a reason why vacation leaves are mandated by law. Just because you’re talking care of a family member doesn’t mean that you don’t need a vacation—even if for a few days.
Just because you are the one that is assigned to take care of someone else does not mean that you have to be the ONLY one to care for them. Getting support from other family members or even an actual organization that provides support.
Establish Personal Health Goals
Just because you’re caring for someone else does not mean that you should not care for yourself. Having personal health goals is a great way to keep focused on not just who you are caring for but also on your own progress.
It is estimated that about one in every three adults in the USA provides some sort of partial or total care for other adults. This means that there are a lot of adults that require constant care. This also means that there are a significant number of people out there that may be suffering from caregiver burnout. It is important to be in the right state of being if you are to provide suitable care for someone else.
If you are providing care for someone else, what do you do to recover from caregiver burnout?
Dementia is a topic that everyone seems to be familiar with but when it really gets down to the wire, do they really understand what dementia is? This is something we aim to clarify today.
What is Dementia?
It is not dementia itself that is the illness. In fact, dementia is what they refer to the overall degeneration of cognitive mental abilities. Dementia is a common symptom of a degenerative disease like Alzheimer’s.
Dementia is usually—and incorrectly—assumed to be something that only happens to people of advanced age. Dementia and the other cognitive degenerative diseases do not select age. A reason why people think only the elderly are afflicted with dementia is because a majority of the representation in film and TV are elderly characters.
Dementia affects lives drastically. Here are a few things that it causes:
Drastic memory loss
It is important to note that there are different types of Dementia. Each one has their own specific effects on the human mind and body. If there is anyone in your family that seemingly seems disoriented or has long bouts of faulty memory, you may want to get them checked.
Dementia is something that is mostly glamorized and turned into plot devices in TV and movies. The topic of dementia is suddenly turned into a catalyst that would allow other people to realize their calling or attain closure. Those that struggle with dementia were turned into the giant nuisance that mar otherwise perfect lives.
This is something that we need to fight as well. Dementia should not just be something that is used to convey “what it would be like” or worse case scenarios of another person’s life. Dementia is real and can happen to anyone—this is why we need to find a cure.