Alzheimer’s disease is a Dementia that is described as a progressive disorder of the brain that gradually destroys a persons’ memory, ability to learn, reason, make judgements, communicate and carry out daily activities. As the disease progresses, sufferers may also experience changes in their personality and display such behavioural changes ranging from anxiety, agitation or suspicion right up to and / or including delusions and hallucinations
Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, new treatments are on the horizon as a result of accelerating insight into the biology of the disease. Research has also shown that effective care and support can improve quality of life for individuals and their caregivers over the course of the disease from diagnosis to the end of life.
Considering the long-term implications for Alzheimer’s sufferers, the hidden sociological impact will in reality be born on the shoulders of those who will be caring for the sufferers for it is indeed a bittersweet irony that those who care for the sufferers in reality suffer more than the sufferers do themselves.
This fact in itself has been largely responsible for another survey finding recently and that was the fact that Australians are equally afraid of caring for someone who has Alzheimer’s as much as they are of developing the disease themselves. Approximately 1 in 2 Australian adults are more apprehensive of caring for partner or loved one who has developed Alzheimer’s. Just less than 1 in 5 adults have indicated that they are more afraid of getting the disease themselves.
The real problem from a carer’s perspective is that no two people experience Alzheimer’s disease in the same way. As a result, there’s no one approach to care giving. Your care giving responsibilities can range from making financial decisions, managing changes in behaviour, to helping a loved one get dressed in the morning.
Handling these duties is hard work. But by learning care giving skills, you can make sure that your loved one feels supported and is living a full life. You can also ensure that you are taking steps to preserve your own well-being.
Caring for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or another illness involving dementia can be very difficult, time-consuming, and stressful – (serious understatement here). Here are some more things a care giver can do to help the person with Alzheimer’s disease while also reducing the substantial burden that comes with care giving: