Common Challenges Caregivers of Dementia Patients Face

Author: Kristin Worthington

If you’ve ever been a caretaker for a senior family member, you already know how difficult it can be. The toll it can take emotionally and physically can be daunting if you aren’t prepared. Let’s look at some of the most common issues associated with being a full-time caregiver and what you can do about it. Remember, knowledge equals power!

Common Challenges Caregivers Face

1. Objective and Subjective Burden
The amount of time spent caregiving, along with the demands it places on you, both emotionally and physically, is what is referred to as the objective burden.

How the caregiver perceives this burden is what is known as the subjective burden. Understanding these two terms can help u determine the amount of assistance needed.

2. Psychological Morbidity
This term sounds rather alarming, but it just refers to the impact on mental health that can often affect full-time caregivers. While dementia is difficult for the patient, it can also cause depression and anxiety in the caregiver as well.

3. Social Isolation
It can be absolutely all-consuming to take on the task of caregiving for a senior adult with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Having a social life is difficult, to say the least, especially when half of all waking hours are spent in the role of caregiving. Neglecting to resolve this issue can cause the psychological morbidity mentioned above.

4. Physical Morbidity
There are a host of health issues commonly experienced in caregivers. These issues are most often directly related to stress and can include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, insomnia, and stomach ulcers.

5. Financial Difficulties
You might be surprised to learn how many families end up paying for long-term care out of their own pockets. This makes caregivers twice as likely to have excessive financial strain and emotional stress.

The Toll on Care Recipients

Dementia is a progressive disease and therefore can cause continued difficulties such as communicating and mobility. Because the disease does not get better, it is crucial for caregivers to learn which behaviors they are likely to face and how to cope.

6. Wandering
This is very common in dementia patients and should be expected and planned for. There can be many causes for the urge to wander off, but most likely are due to things like looking for a lost item, avoiding something stressful in their environment, and even thinking they are going to work.

7. Incontinence
Incontinence can happen later in dementia as the patient forgets what the urge to empty the bladder feels like. They may also forget how to find the restroom or lose the inability to remove clothing in time to not soil themselves.

8. Agitation
Agitation is quite common with dementia. As the brain loses the ability to problem solve and process new information, anxiety and stress can result.

9. Repetitive Talking
Memory decline causes the brain to get “stuck” when it comes to making new memories. This causes the patient to tell the same stories over and over and use the same terms in the current conversation.

Learning to Cope
If you are a caregiver, it is crucial that you learn what to expect and the coping skills needed as the disease progresses. There are many resources available to help support you in your role, so take advantage of them so that you stay as healthy as possible yourself! Remember, no one can do it alone, and we are here to help, contact us today!

Home Helpers of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky is a locally-owned, trusted home health care agency and offers quality, compassionate senior in-home care services including home care assistance, personal care, companion care, respite care, 24-hour home care, Alzheimer's & dementia care, Parkinson's care as well as homemaker services in CincinnatiKenwoodBlue AshIndian HillGreenhillsFort ThomasHyde ParkMadeiraSharonvilleMasonWest ChesterMt. LookoutAndersonWyomingCovingtonBurlingtonFlorenceMontgomeryMt. WashingtonFinneytownMilfordNewportClifton, and Forest Park.

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