But from the moment my mother and grandmother shared with me my grandfather's diagnosis, everything changed. Though my role as national director of sales and marketing memory care for one of the country's largest providers of assisted living was still the same, my motivation was completely different.
Driving is an activity of daily living (ADL) just like getting washed, dressed or cooking. It is an activity that we learn to do once the skills needed to drive have matured. In order to drive safely, we rely on the fine-tuned integration of the necessary physical, visual, cognitive-perceptual, and behavioural skills.
Alzheimer's caregivers are amazingly successful at juggling all of the things necessary to meet the needs of their loved one, but each day they're simultaneously learning how to juggle the many emotions they experience. Anger, guilt, fear and frustration are just a few of the complex emotional balls they are trying so hard to keep in the air.
It is not always easy to recognize elder abuse, particularly if you are the victim. Yet elder abuse is, unfortunately, prevalent in our society. The good news is that there is increased awareness with respect to the existence of elder abuse and its many forms, and numerous resources available to help.
As we became a young adult, our relationship to our parents became different. We still turned to our parents, but more for guidance and support. Never did we imagine or expect that one day we would be the parent to our parent. When did it happen? When was the shift? Now we are the ones in the "worry seat."
The impacts of informal caregiving commitments do not remain confined to the home: they are felt in the Canadian workplace and reduce productivity. They translate into 2.2 million hours of reduced effort in the workplace every week and cause an estimated $1.3 billion productivity loss annually, says the report.
As Alzheimer's disease progresses and the person becomes more and more disconnected from the world around them, caregivers so often, and so unintentionally, lose their way. That's okay, in part because there's no manual for this, no right or wrong. But there are ways that caregivers, like Ed's, can reconnect with their loved one.
Even if your loved one has never been an avid gardener, introducing them to blooms now could be a good idea: this green hobby has been shown to benefit dementia and Alzheimer's patients. Long-term care facilities sometimes refer to it as horticultural therapy -- the connection that dementia patients develop to past and future through tending plants, indoors or out.
Navigating through an airport with a family member who has Alzheimer's can be a nail-biting excursion. Unfamiliar surroundings heighten confusion, impair the ability to follow directions and trigger agitation -- none of which you want to experience as you're getting body-scanned by airport security. Here's how to get through it all with as little hassle as possible.
As there will be some special days that make it painful, you can plan ahead. If you have recently lost your father, than make sure you're with supportive individuals on his birthday, or on Father's Day. You will want to surround yourself with people who respect your grieving process. Make sure you accept the love and support of your friends and family members.
Six years ago, my husband Matthew was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiform, the most common and deadliest of brain cancers. As Matthew's primary caregiver, I've come to recognize that coping in the face of a terminal illness is a learned skill, and sometimes it takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what works.
Helping an elderly parent with bathing, can come with some fear or embarrassment for both of you. You want to maintain the person's privacy, dignity and independence as much as possible. It might take longer than it used to for the person to do something for themselves, but the benefits far outweigh the extra time.
As a community nurse I've heard stories from families who, instead of checking items off shopping lists and going to holiday parties, were taking someone to multiple medical appointments. Or, they were worried and asking me how to keep their mom calm and comfortable at the busy family gathering as her dementia was taking hold.
MP Eve Adams was called out for claiming $2,777 in personal expenses during the 2011 campaign, that range from trips to the spa and salon to childcare. It is hard to defend an expense claim such as nail salon visits or a $3 cupcake purchased weeks after election day. But some campaign expenses are fair game. Why wouldn't it be a legitimate campaign expense to provide childcare for a mom-candidate while she is campaigning 12-16 hours a day? Do we want more women in politics or not? These factors have kept women in the "weaker sex" category in politics.
In her weekly column, Natalie answers your questions about caring for a family member or friend who needs extra support -- and caring for yourself as a caregiver. "My daughter is the joy of my life but sometimes I feel incredibly stressed by the daily responsibilities and challenges of her disability. What can I do when I feel like this?"