Most common challenges associated with caring for a loved one with dementia:
- Sleep problems and caregiver exhaustion are two of the most common reasons persons with dementia are placed in nursing homes. Causes of sleeplessness in dementia patients include pain, lack of exercise and activities, anxiety, agitation, or too much fluid or caffeine late in the day.
- Urinary incontinence is the second leading reason that families institutionalize their loved ones with dementia. Urinary incontinence in persons with dementia should be evaluated for treatable causes, including urinary tract infections, electrolyte and calcium abnormalities, pro-static hypertrophy, and estrogen deficiency. A regular toileting schedule at two to three-hour intervals or verbal prompting may also alleviate this symptom.
- Agitation and aggressive behavior have been reported in 65 percent of community-dwelling persons with dementia. Reasons for agitation or aggression include over-stimulation, physical discomfort, unfamiliar surroundings or persons, complicated tasks, and frustrating interaction, as well as more serious reasons as paranoia, delusions, or hallucinations.
- Caregivers may be embarrassed or ambivalent about discussing inappropriate sexual behaviors exhibited by persons with dementia.
- Persons with dementia are often reluctant to stop driving when safety is at issue.
- Repetitious questions may be due to short-term memory loss and an under-stimulating/over-stimulating environment leading to anxiety, feeling out of control, or fear.
It is OK if caring for you to seek out alternative housing options for your loved one, even if you promised you never would. Caring for someone with dementia can be overwhelming and often creates safety issues. Seek out professionals who can help you find the right option for your loved one in a location that is convenient for you. You were never meant to do this alone!
Information for this blog cited from the Alzheimer’s Association and the American Medical Association