The Truth About Alzheimer's Care and Dementia

Caregivers working with those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia have a “job.” They have a list of tasks that must be performed each day. They are required to adhere to a dress code and clock in and out for each shift. Caregivers wash clothes, change beds, serve meals, clean, and undertake any other task that has been assigned. And, every week they receive compensation for having worked at their job. But this work is more than a job; it’s personal.

“Caregiving for someone living with Alzheimer’s disease is more than a job; it’s personal.”

Caregivers provide the most intimate care that anyone can receive. They are trained to bathe, toilet, feed, and dress those who need assistance in their daily living activities. But the definition of the word “job” doesn’t say anything about emotional and physical attachments that come with providing intimate care; it doesn’t say anything about creating relationships with those cared for as well as for their family members; it doesn’t say anything about the loss that is inevitable when caring for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. And more importantly, it doesn’t say anything about the battlefield that they are entering when attempting to provide necessary care. This work is more than a job; it’s personal.

The Four Truths About Dementia

At least two parts of the brain are dying; it is chronic and can’t be fixed; it is progressive and will get worse; and it is terminal. With these truths come changes in behavior and personality. With these changes come combative and aggressive behaviors, and when caregivers are just “doing their job” the battle begins. The battle of personal care for someone living with Alzheimer’s disease can include the battle of being hit and kicked; the battle of not understanding how to help someone whose brain is dying; the battle internally of feeling personal failure when mistreated by the one you’re trying to help. This work is more than a job; it’s personal.

Empowering Caregivers to End the Battles

When Caregivers are given the right tools, they no longer have to find themselves in a battle to provide care. Caregivers aren’t necessarily doing anything wrong; they’re doing the best they can with the tools they’ve been given. Ending these battles starts by first providing Caregivers a clear understanding that they can respond to a person’s change in cognition and abilities in a way that is not hurtful or offensive. It’s about showing them that with practice, common “reactions” to the person with dementia can become thoughtful “responses,” which improve quality of life for everyone involved. Caregivers can learn to recognize that the person with dementia is doing the best they can and that if something isn’t working, it’s the responsibility of the Caregiver to change their approach and behaviors toward the person with dementia. They will learn to notice the environment surrounding a person with dementia and make changes as necessary. This work is more than a job; it’s personal.

Serenades purpose built memory care communities are located in Winter Garden, Longwood, and The Villages and offer central Floridian families an assisted living environment specifically designed and programmed for caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

Guide to Finding the Right Memory Care Community for Your Loved One

Looking for the right memory care community can be challenging. You want to make sure you find the best place for your loved one, while dealing with a range of emotions. The entire family feels the impact when a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer's or a related form of dementia.