Parish Event
Support Group for People who are Caring for Alzheimer's Patients
Dementia Caregivers

Do you sometimes feel that you are on an emotional roller coaster?
Do you have feelings of denial, anger, depression, anxiety, social withdrawal,
exhaustion, sleeplessness, irritability, lack of concentration or health problems?

If so, you are not alone. As a caregiver, these are normal feelings.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, join us on

Wednesday, September 20
at 7 pm at the Pastoral Center

Come and share with others who are in the same place as you are. Feeling unsure or ill at ease spending time with a person with memory loss? By understanding the disease and how it affects the brain, you can more easily make meaningful connections with a person with Alzheimer’s disease. This program will provide insight into memory loss and dementia and the effect on communication and behavior. It will also introduce participants to techniques that can be used to make visits more comfortable and meaningful.

QUESTIONS?
Call Barbara Mares at the Pastoral Center at (708) 453-2555
ALL ARE WELCOME!

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Coping with Dementia Caregiving
Article in Bulletin July 26, 2015

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s changes your life and is typically more stressful than caring for someone with only a physical impairment. Many caregivers become overwhelmed with the strain and experience illness, sleep deprivation, premature aging and depression. It can be an emotional roller coaster of love, hope, anger, guilt, loneliness and sadness. Here are 10 signs of Caregiver Stress:

  • DENIAL about the disease and its effect on the person who has been diagnosed.
  • ANGER at the person with Alzheimer’s or others, anger that no cure currently exists, and anger that other people don’t understand what’s going on.
  • SOCIAL WITHDRAWAL from friends and activities that once brought pleasure.
  • ANXIETY about facing another day and what the future holds.
  • DEPRESSION that begins to break your spirit and your ability to cope.
  • EXHAUSTION that makes it nearly impossible to complete necessary daily tasks.
  • SLEEPLESSNESS caused by a never ending list of concerns.
  • IRRITABILITY that leads to moodiness and triggers negative responses and actions.
  • LACK OF CONCENTRATION that makes it difficult to perform familiar tasks.
  • HEALTH PROBLEMS that begin to take their toll, both mentally and physically.

BUT YOU ARE NOT ALONE - A group of parishioners who have experienced these challenges are working together to form a SUPPORT GROUP for those of you who could use someone to listen to your concerns and frustrations. Please watch the bulletin for further information.

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Tips for Dementia Caregivers from Doctors
Article in Bulletin July 19, 2015

There is much to be gained by improving communications between family caregivers and health care professionals – especially physicians. Positive outcomes include: better care for the patient, less stress and illness for the caregiver, more efficient use of doctor’s time and more satisfaction for all concerned. Here are some tips on communicating with your loved one’s doctor:

  • Write down questions so you won’t forget them.
  • Be clear about what you want to say to the doctor. Try not to ramble.
  • If you have lots of things to talk about, make a consultation appointment so the doctor can allow enough time to meet with you in an unhurried way.
  • Educate yourself by reading and looking for information from reputable organizations.
  • Learn the routine at your doctor’s office and/or hospital so you can make the system work for you, not against you.
  • Recognize that not all questions have answers – especially those beginning with “why.”
  • Separate your anger and sense of impotence about not being able to help your loved one as much as you would like from your feelings about the doctor or staff members. Remember, you are both on the same side.

As a family member or other caregiver, one of the most important things you can do is increase your knowledge of the disease and its management. Here are some ways you can do this:

  • Visit your local library or book store to find books about Dementia and coping as a caregiver.
  • Join a support group for caregivers or participate in internet support networks.
  • Get involved with local organizations such as your Alzheimer’s Association chapter.
  • Ask your doctor to help you locate service appropriate to your loved one’s needs.

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10 Early Signs of Alzheimer’s
Article in Bulletin July 12, 2015

Memory loss that disrupts daily life may be a symptom of Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. Every individual may experience one or more of these 10 warning signs in different degrees:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life such as forgetting IMPORTANT DATES, asking for the same information over and over and increasingly needing to rely on family members for things they used to handle on their own.
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems such as keeping track of monthly bills, or having difficulty concentrating and taking much longer to do things than they did before.
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure including having trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game.
  4. Confusion with time or place including losing track of seasons and passage of time; sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships such as difficulty reading, judging distances and determining color which may cause problems with driving.
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing such as stopping in the middle of a conversation and having no idea how to continue; may have problems finding the right word or repeat themselves again and again.
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps including putting things in unusual places or even accusing others of stealing.
  8. Decreased or poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts of money to solicitors, paying less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities such as removing themselves from hobbies, social activities, projects or sports.
  10. Changes in mood and personality including becoming confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful, anxious or even violent; may be easily upset when they are outside of their comfort zone.

If you notice any of the 10 WARNING SIGNS OF ALZHEIMER’S in yourself or someone you know, DON’T IGNORE THEM. Schedule an appointment with your doctor. You can explore treatments that may provide some relief of symptoms and help maintain a level of independence longer.

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DEMENTIA
Article in Bulletin July 5, 2015

Many of us have cared for family members suffering from Dementia. A small group of parishioners has come together so that we could learn about these diseases and see how we might be able to support each other and other families in the same situation in the near future.

WHAT IS DEMENTIA?

Dementia is a very broad term that is commonly used in reference to deteriorating functions of the brain that include memory, communication, thought processes, judgement and behavior.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DEMENTIA AND ALZHEIMER’S?

While dementia is a broad category, Alzheimer’s Disease is a specific type of dementia. Other causes include vascular disease, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and frontotemporal degeneration.

WHAT CAUSES DEMENTIA?

Dementia is caused by damage to the brain from several different neurological conditions including the conditions mentioned above and stroke effects. Each of these diseases has certain risk factors, including lifestyle and genetics. The risk of developing dementia increases as people age, but is not a normal consequence of aging. Approximately half of people over 85 develop Alzheimer’s, the most common cause of dementia. It is estimated that 5.4 million Americans suffer from dementia.

DIAGNOSIS OF DEMENTIA

If you suspect someone has dementia, arrange for a doctor’s appointment for an evaluation as soon as possible. Sometimes, reversible conditions such as vitamin B12 deficiency or normal pressure hydrocephalus can cause confusion or memory loss and may be treatable.