Caring for someone with dementia
You have reached one of the most important sections of our Internet site. The information you can find here is the result of the Care Manual project financed by the European Commission.
This project was dedicated to writing general information on Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia as well as providing useful tips and hints for carers of people with dementia. This section is written to offer practical solutions to the problems that carers may face while looking after a person with dementia.Most of you who read this will be deeply motivated to do so. You may have just learned that a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia. You and other members of your family may have to face up to a new situation, one for which you are not prepared – living 24 hours a day with someone who is slowly losing their mental abilities.
Nobody is ready to deal with such a situation. It can cause stress, anguish and physical fatigue both for the person who will become the main carer and for other members of the family.
The first necessity in the light of this brutal diagnosis is to obtain information, to find out what Alzheimer's disease is and how it is likely to evolve.
The average length of duration of the disease from the moment you are informed of the diagnosis is 10 years. This could mean 10 years of difficulty or 10 years during which time you could envisage in a positive manner how to render the affected person happier and improve the quality of your life.
In a simple and understandable style of language, they offer practical solutions to the majority of your problems. They will help you adopt an active and non-fatalistic attitude. You can do a tremendous amount to relieve the suffering of your loved one and yourself at the same time.
Don't forget three crucial points :
- The quality of care that you are able to give in relation to your condition
- If you are nervous, tired or anxious, this nervousness, tiredness or anxiety will affect the person you are caring for.
- This section presents situations which have been frequently experienced by families. It has been compiled so as to be as complete as possible. When reading it, don't be misled into believing that you will face all the situations described. Each family comes up against specific problems. You will find yours described in this section. Don't think that everything described will happen to you.
Alzheimer's disease evolves over time. The problems which you will be faced with reflect this evolution. They are not the same problems at the beginning of the disease as they are at a more advanced stage. As the main carer, you will have to adapt yourself to your particular situation. What you can expect to do today might be impossible to achieve tomorrow. Try to be attentive to the evolution of the disease. Your care and your attitude will evolve with it. A solution which you find satisfactory at a given moment, might no longer be so when additional symptoms occur. Never consider a solution as definite. You may very often feel alone with your problems. But, there are Alzheimer's Associations whose main goal is to help you. These associations provide you with the opportunity to meet other families. You can talk about what is close to your heart. They can also provide you with support at the level of information and with regard to administrative and legal matters. In this Internet site, you will find a list of addresses of the member organisations of Alzheimer Europe. Choose the association closest to your home.Finally, if reading these tips is useful and helps you to face up to your problems more effectively, then the whole of the team who worked on compiling it will know that they have accomplished what they set out to doHow these years are spent depends on you. It is true that there is still no treatment which can cure the disease, but there is a series of strategies to resolve the kind of daily problems everyone is faced with.
These tips for carers, which have been compiled on the basis of the experience of family organisations grouped under the umbrella of Alzheimer Europe, are intended for you.
Last Updated: Monday 12 July 2010