Blog Post created by 3372866 Employee on May 12, 2015

As a care giver in long term care, we are hands on with different stages and types of dementia. We see the emotional and physical toll it puts on our patients. We see the emotional, physical, spiritual toll it puts on the family. We become the family member, coworker, childhood friend that our dementia patient needs. We become the teacher, the strength, the pastor, the psychologist, the shoulder to cry on for the family. We all know that there are support group for the family members. Some of them do visit and participate. In my 18 years of long term care, I have seen very few that do participate after 1 visit. Recently I asked a daughter why she did not return. Her answer surprised me. " You all are my support group."  Wow! What a statement! We are your support group! I asked her what she meant by that. She just laughed because she could see my surprise. According to her, we care givers listen, we teach, we take action, we support, we give them strength, and most importantly, the weight is taken from their shoulders because we are the ones doing what they could no longer do. That in itself it a big undertaking. To care for a dementia patient. I for one know it takes a special type of person to care for someone with dementia. Don't get me wrong, I have other patients with other diseases. Has anyone taken a good look at the ratio of dementia patients in long term care? How many long term care facilities have a special dementia unit? In all my years I have seen at least 80% of the patients have dementia of some sort. I know that all the facilities that I have visited or worked at have a dementia unit of some sort. Lock down or not. Now what about in home care? How many of their patients have a form of dementia? That's a big number. A very big number. Now think of how many people are affected by dementia? Whether your a care giver or a family member. The number grows exponentially. So many of the people I care for have dementia. I deal with family on a routine basis. Daily I am teaching someone about why their family member is behaving the way they are. Why they no longer see their child that is grown. why they no longer recognize their husband or wife. That is always something that is hard.  It's hard to see someone advance in their dementia. It's hard to watch someone Forget how to eat, swallow, brush their teeth, smile, or talk. It is always hard to explain to the family that this is a normal course for their disease and there is nothing that can be done to reverse it. It is hard to be strong and not cry with the family. It's hard. Oh so hard. But we do it. We keep our heads up and we keep trudging on. That is nature of a caregivers day with a dementia patient.