A common misconception about dementia is that it is one specific disease. Dementia is more accurately defined as a group of symptoms that affects brain functions such as reasoning, memory and the ability to socialize successfully or even perform daily functions. Alzheimer’s is probably the most common form of what’s called progressive dementia.
While memory loss generally occurs in patients suffering from dementia, this alone does not indicate a person has dementia. Most commonly, in addition to memory loss, a person might experience impaired judgment, the ability to speak clearly, become disoriented and unable to perform daily functions such as keeping appointments or personal hygiene. Since individuals with advanced dementia cannot report their symptoms, these symptoms often are untreated, leaving them vulnerable to pain, difficulty breathing and various other conditions. And their families often struggle alone in their attempts to care for their loved ones with advanced dementia.
Caring for a loved one with dementia can be a very challenging journey. Often you will see the quality of your loved one’s life begin to diminish, this can take a serious toll on you, as their caregiver, as well. Simple acts of daily care are often combined with complex end-of-life decisions and painful feelings of bereavement. You are likely to feel overwhelmed at times, but the more information and support you gain, the more confidence you will have.
Yolo Hospice can help. With our holistic, multidisciplinary tradition of care, we can make a dramatic difference in the lives of dementia patients and their families. With our strong emphasis on safety, comfort, and support for the patient and you as their caregiver, you can begin to regain hope for your loved one’s quality of life and your own peace of mind. It becomes about easing discomfort and providing meaningful connections to family and loved ones.
Physical examinations at home, education, support and counseling are provided by our nurses, social workers, counselors, and chaplains. A certified nursing assistant can provide assistance with personal care. On-call nurses are available 24 hours a day in the case of a medical crisis. Hospice volunteers can give a break to the caregiver allowing them time away to run needed errands or enjoy some downtime with friends liking meeting for coffee or going to the movies.
The quality of life for dementia patients and their families can improve as the Yolo Hospice care team, in cooperation with your loved one’s physician, develops a care plan to meet the patient and family’s specific needs and share in the care. Never feel like you have to handle this journey alone, we are here to help.