Dealing with Dementia: A Guide to Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias

By Brian Draper | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
FAMILIES AND OTHER CARERS

DEMENTIA HAS AN ENORMOUS impact upon family and friends. Living with a person with dementia is often very stressful, particularly as the dementia progresses into the moderate and severe stages, and personality and behavioural changes become more apparent. Observing the gradual decline of a loved one from a competent individual to an incompetent dependent can be a harrowing experience. The demands upon the time and emotions of those providing care—the carers—can be huge. A famous book written about caregiving in the mid-1980s, by Peter Rabins and Nancy Mace, was entitled The 36-Hour Day. The title said it all for so many carers and it instantly became a bestseller worldwide. 1 However, caregiving is not all negative, and in this chapter I consider some of the positive aspects.


THE IMPACT OF EARLY DEMENTIA

Pre-diagnosis

In previous chapters I have described how the early symptoms of dementia may be non-specific and are often attributed to other causes. Depending on the type of symptoms that predominate, the early impact of dementia upon family and friends is quite variable. There is little doubt, however, that spouses and others living with the dementing person experience the greatest impact.

Jim and his 74-year-old wife Penny lived a quiet, happy life. Jim first noticed that Penny was becoming forgetful when she kept losing her house keys. Initially it was a source of

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Dealing with Dementia: A Guide to Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • List of Illustrations x
  • List of Tables xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Chapter 1 - What is Dementia 1
  • Chapter 2 - Prevention of Dementia I 12
  • Chapter 3 - Prevention of Dementia II 26
  • Chapter 4 - The Symptoms and Course of Dementia 45
  • Chapter 5 - Types of Dementia 71
  • Chapter 6 - Dementia Assessment 88
  • Chapter 7 - Drug Treatments 106
  • Chapter 8 - Psychosocial Treatments 123
  • Chapter 9 - Families and Other Carers 138
  • Chapter 10 - Community Care Services 154
  • Chapter 11 - Residential Care 170
  • Chapter 12 - Ethical and Legal Issues 188
  • Chapter 13 - The Future 204
  • Appendix 1 - Australian Telephone Helplines 220
  • Appendix 2 - Websites 222
  • Appendix 3 - Books for Carers 230
  • Glossary 232
  • Notes 238
  • Index 252
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