Tensions and pressures in the family when caring for a dementia patient at home

Nov 10, 2023 | 0 comments

When a person from the locality is asked “What do you know about dementia?”, those who have little or no experience in treating a dementia patient, usually answer something along the lines of “Oh… it’s just a disease of forgetfulness”. This is probably one of the most outrageous answers an experienced person can imagine.

Caring for an adult diagnosed with this debilitating disease at home is a task full of stress and anxiety. Until the word “forget” does not even come close to a correct description of the situation.

Caregivers must devote every minute of their time to caring for the adult.At all times they take care of his safety.They have no time for themselves.There is no need to even explain what this means about working and taking care of children at the same time.

Caring for a dementia patient at home changes the whole family dynamic. This brings a flood of conflicting emotions such as resentment, guilt, anger and unrelenting stress. In this article, we will try to explain why.

How dementia affects the person

Dementia is a debilitating disease that damages the brain and causes forgetfulness. Imagine your elderly father forgetting that he retired over twenty years ago. He forgets that his parents died thirty years ago. that he moved two years ago, his young wife got married…

And then there are the dangerous little forgetfulness. He forgets that his little granddaughter cannot yet chew or swallow solid foods when he gives her chocolate. He forgets to turn off the oven (and is sure to turn it off). He forgets to lock doors, how to eat, dress, use the phone and dozens of other things every day.

Imagine caring for a dementia patient at home. A person who raised you all his life and now has difficulty with the most basic actions and needs and needs close supervision and help in everything.

Home care for a dementia patient

The role of caregiver steadily takes over your entire life. This is the point where the stress and negativity starts. Dementia patients can ask questions “Can I move in with my friends?”. A question after which you will have to gently explain to them that their friends are already adults and cannot live alone without the help of others.

The patient can nod his head and understand this, but after five minutes he will forget about the conversation and repeat the same question again.

The cyclical cycle of actions is constantly in action when dealing with a dementia patient. Imagine repeating the same sentence 10 times a day, every day. When there is a pile of paperwork to handle in the office. When the children need to be picked up from school. And when you haven’t had time to eat since morning.

The caregivers begin to feel resentment and then guilt because they are aware that it is not the patient’s fault – they are experiencing resentment towards the person who has cared for them all their life.

This is the reason why most family members choose home care. Out of love, respect and commitment. But, it is only when they begin to carry out the task that they realize the enormous amount of work that is required.

The effects of treating a dementia patient at home

When a family member begins to spend more and more time caring for a dementia patient, it is only natural that this will affect other aspects of their lives. Especially children can feel neglected after the sudden change in the direction of attention towards the adult.

Once the child’s needs were above all else; Caring for a family member with dementia is in many ways like caring for another child. Therefore, when treating a dementia patient at home and bringing such a situation to the family, it is necessary to explain the situation to everyone in advance. Family members need time to prepare for the change.

And even then, the change itself will exceed their expectations and they will struggle to cope.

Behavior patterns of a dementia patient

There are dementia patients who suffer from aggression, which increases the stress level at home. They may become nasty and even violent, very different from their personality structure before they got the disease. In one case, the father suffering from dementia was cared for by his loving home;

As the disease progressed, his behavior began to change and he became more and more unpredictable. When the cat they raised at home died, his home was struck with grief. Instead of sympathizing with the loss, he started laughing and said “Blessed that we got rid of him!”

In other cases, people with dementia may withdraw from guests who come to their home and refuse to talk to them. They can become stubborn about meals. Maybe even refusing to eat until they get a certain portion they want, and then refuse to eat that too.

All these actions, which take place on a daily and consistent basis, can easily take a toll on the therapist and cause them (the therapists) to break down emotionally.

Friends and relatives of the caregivers may stop wanting to come to their home. Caregivers have less and less time to work, and little, if any, time for themselves. The therapists become “silent patients” who slowly begin to suffer from depression, stress, anxiety and other frustrations.

On top of all this, they suffer from a lack of sleep hours after waking up enough times to take care of a patient who has wet his bed and the sheets have to be cleaned and changed. This is just another addition to the pressure that is accumulating and growing.

Summary and advice for home care for a dementia patient

There are dozens of books, blogs and advice from people who, like us, document and share their experiences of caring for a person with dementia and advise others on how to do the same. The task is not easy and requires more patience than raising your children.

If you are also caring for a dementia patient, don’t take the whole burden on yourself. Share it with others and remember to take care of yourself too. If you need advice, please call me at 0547758564.

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