January 28, 2016

What do I need to know Caregiving for those with Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease?

What is Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease?

Dementia is a condition where there is a decline in memory or other cognitive skills that affects a person’s ability to perform daily activities.  Dementia is caused by damage to neurons in the brain.  This damage can cause changes in behavior and cognitive function.  Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.  With Alzheimer’s disease, the damage and death of neurons ultimately cause a decline in bodily functions resulting in death.

Who suffers from Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease?

As of 2014, an estimated 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease.  This includes an estimated 5 million people age 65 and older and approximately 200,000 people under age 65 who have younger-onset Alzheimer’s.  The vast majority of those with Alzheimer’s disease are age 75 or older.  The prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is expected to rapidly increase as the baby boomers age.

How does Dementia/Alzheimer’s affect the family caregiver?

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease can be a heavy burden impacting the health, family relationships, finances, and employment of the family caregiver. However, there are ways to minimize the caregiver burden.  Caregivers who have help caring for their loved one receive much needed respite that allows them to focus on their other responsibilities at home and work.  Some other helpful evidence based interventions are caregiver support groups, mindfulness based stress reduction, and psycho-educational groups with both family caregivers and early stage Alzheimer’s patients.

How can Compass Care help?

Compass Care Assistants (“CCA”) receive extensive training through our Home Care Institute in best practices of caring for people with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.   Our CCAs receive hospitality training that is focused on the development of a nurturing and supportive caregiver relationship.  Our caregivers receive specific instruction in the behavioral effects of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia and we provide concrete strategies in how best to manage and assist with these behaviors.