Becoming a carer for a loved one with dementia is a life changing experience. Each day can bring on new demands, new highs and new lows. If you work or have children of your own, the challenges of caring for your parent can be even more demanding. These can begin to take their toll on your health, family or marriage. It can be very challenging to adapt your role from child to caregiver and for many individuals, this shift can be overwhelming and isolating at first. Becoming more informed about dementia and focusing on planning can help you to juggle your roles and maintain a balanced lifestyle.
1.Do your research
Caring for someone with dementia may not come naturally. It isn’t intuitive. In fact, sometimes the logical thing is the wrong thing. Before you start administering care and treatment to your parent, you need to become well-versed in the diagnosis. Knowledge isn’t just a good thing for your parent’s well-being, it can also help reduce your stress levels as you’re in the right state of mind to deal with problems as they arise. There are a number of useful educational resources available to help you including:
Here are a few things to think about:
There is at present no cure for dementia. But there are medicines and other treatments that can help with dementia symptoms. Two of the most commonly prescribed medicines for dementia are cholinesterase inhibitors of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors or memantine or also called Namenda. Doctors use these mainly to treat the symptoms, however there are other alternative treatments also
Medicines to treat dementia
Most of the medications available are used to treat Alzheimer's disease as this is the most common form of dementia. They can help to temporarily reduce symptoms. The following medicines are used to temporarily improve dementia symptoms and they work by boosting levels of a chemical message.
The main medicines are:
How can you adapt and cope with everyday memory problems?
Unfortunately, there is no simple cure for memory problems. However, the good news is that there are a number of things you can do which can make living with memory problems easier. These include:
1. Adapting your environment
One thing you can do to help your memory problems is to alter your surroundings so that you do not need to rely on your memory as much. Here are some useful ideas that you might try:
There is not always an explanation as to what causes dementia but we know that damage to or loss of nerve cells and their connections in the brain ultimately lead to dementia. There are certain factors which can make it more likely. Some are avoidable, with certain lifestyle changes which can make a difference. Some of the known risk factors include your age and having certain other underlying health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
The risk factors vary for different types of dementia and some of them you cannot change, such as your age or ethnic background and whether you are male or female. But there are others that you can and by making certain healthy lifestyle changes you may help reduce your risk of dementia.
There are several lifestyle risk factors linked to increased risk of dementia or mental decline (cognitive impairment). These don’t increase the risk of all types of dementia, but they are linked to the two most common types:
Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. People with Alzheimer’s disease often have some vascular dementia as well.
The following list provides a range of useful resources which may be of interest to people with dementia and their family caregivers:
The Alzheimers Society of Ireland provides a range of specialist services and information resources for persons with dementia and their family caregivers. Support services provided include support groups, social clubs, day care services, dementia advisor service and case management service. Information relating to these resources can be found at：
The Alzheimer's Society of Ireland National Helpline is a free, confidential service which offers up-to-date information, support and a listening ear. A dedicated team of helpline advisors and trained helpline volunteers are available Monday-Friday 10am-5pm and Saturday 10am-4pm. Call 1800 341 341 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Understand Together is a public support, awareness and information campaign led by HSE, working with The Alzheimer Society of Ireland and Genio campaign.