Mr. X was like any other person in the neighborhood. He was a loving caregiver for his wife who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. He was a dedicated friend, a loving father and a passionate grandfather in the family. It was a shock for the family to realize that their beloved Mr. X was a victim of Dementia.
One day he was found to be arguing with someone. He was very angry with the milk vendor, who is a common supplier of milk in Mr. X’s apartment Complex. He fought with him saying he was trying to peep into the house. This was very unusual for Mr. X, who had a reputation of being a respectful man.
There was another incident that shocked the family. Mr. X was found chasing his son out of the apartment by holding a knife. He beat him without hesitation while accusing him of theft. This incident left the family perplexed. They had witnessed a drastic change in the personality of their beloved father. However, this also made them realize that they needed help. Therefore, they contacted one of the well-known dementia care center. Looking at the support service they offered the family felt that residential care in the center for Mr. X’s behavioral management was the better decision to make.
Mr. X was moved to a residential dementia day care facility. There he received several kinds of treatment, for his behavior. Treatment included both medical intervention and therapeutic intervention. Here, his family visited him often. They were able to spend good time with him. However, his cognitive ability gradually deteriorated, so is the case with anyone who is the victim of Dementia.
There are several such instances such as the one mentioned in the case study above, we can presume that dementia is a disease that affects the “person with Dementia” and also the family of the person. However, in all cases the family of the person needs support from several sources such as agencies or centers for dementia care, psychologists and other experts on dementia and social workers. They will help the family understand and prepare themselves for the signs and symptoms of dementia. This will build confidence and also will prepare them for the coming of the inevitable, the cognitive deterioration.
BUT IT IS NOT THE END OF THE WOLD! We need to understand that people with dementia need not live the rest of their life being ignored. Unfortunately, that is the case several times. They could to be engaged all day so that their deterioration can be delayed. We could engage them with aspects such as developing a schedule for the person, engaging their mind with cognitive activities and muscle motor activities.
The problem does not end at preparation and helping the person. We have established that dementia also affects the family of the person. Therefore, after the family moves from denial to acceptance and understand the fact that they need to make the best of the present situation, they will start assuming responsibility. The best way to deal with this is for a family to work together as a unit. Allocating responsibilities among the family, keeping fun and entertainment in the family are brilliant ways to protect each family member from “Burnout”. In several cases attending family therapy sessions and support group sessions would work wonders for the wellbeing and positivity for family members.
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