Marguerite Manteau Rao, CEO and Co-Founder of Presence Care Project, a new, innovative approach to training dementia caregivers states for the Huffington Post that “…They are the 5.4 million with Alzheimer’s* whose disabled mind has robbed them of the familiarity that once felt safe. In their own homes, and even more so in the institutions where they are often placed, those men and women dwell in a permanent state of alienation. Changes in the ability to remember and to make sense of their surroundings, combined with powerlessness over their destiny, makes them at the mercy of those in charge of their care. The same way we would not think of imprisoning our children in closeted spaces, it is our responsibility to provide those (mostly) elders with living conditions where they can find happiness, regardless of the condition of their brain…”
A real challenge when looking for housing options and home care for loved ones with dementia. Read the article.
Marguerite Manteau-Rao warn us about caregivers’ burn out. She says on the Huffington Post: “…For the 15 million in this country who are caring for a loved one with dementia*, this is what life is like — according to the Alzheimer’s Association 2012 Report:
- 61 percent of dementia caregivers suffer from high emotional stress
- 33 percent report symptoms of depression
- They experience caregiving strain regarding financial issues (56 percent), and family issues (53 percent).
- 43 percent experience high physical stress
- 75 percent are concerned about maintaining their health.
- Dementia caregivers are more likely to have adverse physiological changes such as high levels of stress hormones, reduced immune function, increased hypertension, coronary heart disease.
- 37 percent rate stress as their greatest difficulty.
- In the last year of their loved one’s life, 59 percent feel they are on duty 24 hours a day.
- 72 percent of caregivers express relief after their loved ones die.
There are some caregivers -in family settings- or in nursing homes that have found that allowing people with dementia practically anything that brings comfort to them, improves the mood, decreases agitation, and soothes them in a higher rate that psychotropics medications that usually creates undesirable side effects in the elder. In a recent article by Pam Belluck for the New York Times, she interviewed Tina Alonzo, director of a nursing home, who states that “… Research suggests that creating positive emotional experiences for Alzheimer’s patients diminishes distress and behavior problems…” . The article also suggests that one-on-one activities instead of big “bingo-groups’ along with individualized menus help to improve people’s mood: “…Comforting food improves behavior and mood because it “sends messages they can still understand: ‘it feels good, therefore I must be in a place where I’m loved…”