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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday's Science News April 24, 2012

I discovered another website that is beneficial for family caregivers and for professional caregivers as well. It is titled and discusses both the stages of Alzheimer's disease as well as stages of caregiving. Although it is a bit simplistic it is valuable to understand how much time, effort and emotional drain it is for the caregiver to attend to the needs of loved ones in each of the stages of this awful disease.
For example, I visited at the care facility where my husband lives, after supper on Sunday. I found him wandering near a staff member, attempting to remove a pair of sweatpants he was wearing. The staff member kind of dismissed his concerns and said she was glad I arrived to see how disoriented my husband becomes.
Well, the sweatpants are not his, I know he dislikes sweatpants; when I offered him a pair of shorts instead, he sat on his bed, removed the slippers and the offending pants, dressed himself in the shorts I offered and put on his slippers again. Yes, he needed to be directed each step of the way, but he was able to accomplish the task by himself and felt better, no longer "disoriented" at all. We went for a stroll on the grounds, played balloon catch with another resident and when I left, he was ready to settle down for the night.
Imagine how draining this is twenty-four hours a day, figuring out what is bothering a person who no longer is articulate enough to describe his needs and wants, finding and then implementing a solution to the immediate problem and then redirecting the person to a more pleasant activity--which may only be effective for ten minutes until another issue upsets him.
Now imagine you are one of two care workers on a 21 bed unit of late stage Alzheimer patients on an evening shift! I admire them so much.

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