I've cared for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease for a number of years. It was a tiring yet rewarding experience. My daily routine was like a roller coaster ride. While assisting my patients with their daily living routines, I had to deal with the sudden mood changes. It's like having a child throwing tantrums. But I always felt well equipped with knowledge and skills to care and communicate with my patients.
It requires thinking about safety and being alert to monitor their every move. You need to have a spider-sense like Spiderman and be able put yourself in their shoes. And just like every superhero who gets rewarded for giving their best to someone else, you should also feel the recognition for saving a patient's day.
There are several forms of Dementia, but Alzheimer’s Disease contributes to 60-70% of the cases according to the World Health Organization.
Alzheimer’s Disease is a chronic neuro-degenerative disorder which breaks down and destroys brain cells. This damage causes a decline in memory, behavior and mental capabilities. It's said that every persons’ journey having Alzheimer’s is unique. In the most common case, it progresses slowly and leaves mental function intact for several years. There are several forms of Dementia, but Alzheimer’s Disease contributes to 60-70% of the cases according to the World Health Organization.
Other times, Alzheimer’s Disease is aggressive and rapidly robs the person of their memory. In severe cases, it disrupts people from carrying out their day-to-day, which leads them to needing care. There is no known cure in the market as of today. Only drugs that help with symptoms
Complex emotions such as resentment about time and effort, potential loss of income and anticipated loss of a loved one, all add to the situation.
US based drug company Biogen says it has created the first drug therapy called Aducanumab that could slow down Alzheimer’s Disease. Biogen sought regulatory approval in the US last year and plans to file the paperwork in early 2020. The approval processes could take two years or longer. A breakthrough would be immense for the patients. It would also ease the burden on caregivers and informal caregivers within the family.
Caregiving is a complex task that is often undervalued. It is physically, mentally and financially stressful. Complex emotions such as resentment about time and effort, potential loss of income and anticipated loss of a loved one, all add to the situation. This results in the sense of nonexistent pastime, neglect of friends and hobbies. Report have shown that levels of depression in both caregivers and family caregivers is related to the physical and mental condition of their patients. Caregivers often mention a continued loss of functional communication with the patient. Even the smallest improvement in the patients’ memory, would make a big impact on their day-to-day life.
While we wait for more attention and progress in this field, it's important that both caregivers and family members understand how to cope with Alzheimer’s Disease. I know firsthand the difference between better knowledge and techniques made on my patient's daily living routines. When I advise friends on taking caregiver jobs, I always want them to think about what skill-set training the company will be providing them. Find out more about Alzheimer’s Disease from the Alzheimer's Association.
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