Dementia is a general, umbrella term to describe various symptoms that may present themselves as a decline in memory or cognitive function. There are many, many types of dementia with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) being the most common type (60-80%) of dementias.
There is no one test to determine what type of dementia a person may have, but when one experiences: memory loss affecting one’s daily life, difficulty completing tasks, trouble solving problems, confusion, struggling to speak or write properly, misplacing things, or withdrawal, it is imperative that they see their physician so that he/she can administer appropriate testing to determine whether or not the person is actually experiencing dementia and what type of dementia or whether or not there is another cause related to the above symptoms.
It is an extremely stressful job to care for one with dementia or AD. It is comparable in a sense with raising a young child. You must always be several steps ahead of them to plan for their safety and wellbeing. It is a never ending job and your loved one’s best interests must be uppermost in your mind. However, one of the differences is that a child slowly gains independence and judgment skills. A person with dementia or AD slowly loses independence and judgment skills and therefore requires more and more from you. As your own physical, mental, and emotional abilities are being depleted, your loved one is demanding an ever increasing amount of these resources from you.
You must step back and allow yourself some “me” time. Time to re-group, time to bring balance back into your life, time to educate yourself on what to expect and how to handle these new tasks. There are several support groups available to aid you in helping yourself to help them. There are many adult day care centers to care for your loved one while you achieve this balance in your life. There are caregivers that will come into your home from 2 hours to 24 hours a day.
Although there is an exorbitant amount of helpful information available on the internet, joining an actual support group does wonders as you interact with one another on a more personal level. You have the chance of expressing your concerns and gain understanding and helpful guidance from others experiencing the very same issues.