Monday, January 12, 2009

Signs and Symptoms

I want to thank my new friend Dr. David Thomas for sharing these links with me and others. I invite you to visit his blog, "A Diary of a Psychiatrist with Lewy Body Dementia". His is a very personal and informative blog.

I am providing links to the articles that list these signs and symptoms. Please keep in mind that no one person will exhibit all of these but they are good indicators for you to look for not only in your loved one but yourself if you are the caregiver.

25 Habits Every Caregiver Should Avoid

I am going to tell you the ones that my mom and I have experienced in the hopes that you may avoid them.

1. Trying to do too much, resulting in not getting anything done. I think this comes from just being overwhelmed. I don't think most of us realize just what being a caregiver entails.

2. Having no clear cut goals. Even if it is just something simple like cleaning the bedroom, you have to have a goal and stick to it. Otherwise chaos becomes your life.

3. Improper or no planning. I have covered this in several of my previous posts. This is very important in all aspects of being a caregiver! If you don't plan properly you will be in turmoil emotionally and physically all the time.

4. Lax hand washing. I can be anal about this. If your loved one is in a nursing home, you cannot wash your hands enough! I can assure you that the people seeing to their needs are not doing so. This spreads all sorts of infections including MRSA which can be quite dangerous.

5. Can't or won't delegate. This is not the time to have the "I can do it better myself" attitude. If someone offers help...TAKE IT! This is not something that happens often so don't be proud take the time off or helping hand.

There are other signs and this article also offers ways to help reduce stress and change bad habits.

The second article deals with signs your loved one may exhibit. This was a really hard article for me to read. Looking back, I can see symptoms I just didn't see before in my grandmother. I want to blame her children since they spent the most time with her, however, if I am to be totally honest, I really should have asked more questions. I just didn't know and didn't try to probe them for fear of alienating them. I don't know if it would have made any difference in my grandmother's life or not. I tell myself that the important thing is that she is with my mom and I now and she is getting the proper care and that is what is important but sometimes that just sound like a total cop out.

30 Signs Your Loved One May Need a Caregiver

1. Stained or dirty clothes The same outfit worn everyday. For my grandmother it was and still is wearing the same outfit everyday. She always says it isn't dirty so why can't I wear it again? I just tell her she needs to wear something cute today.

2. Items not returned to drawers or cupboards. She took all the dishes out of her cupboards and set them on the cabinet and then didn't remember doing it. This was at least 2 years before she came to live with us.

3. Signs of confusion. I think we sometimes get this mixed up with signs of forgetfulness. You have to watch your loved one's face. There you will see the difference between the 2.

There are many more signs listed, but these are the top 3 for me. I encourage all of you to read these articles and hopefully you can avoid some of the mistakes we have made along the way.

Remember this is a learning process for everyone involved. Mistakes will be made. The important this is not to dwell on what could have or should have been done and focus on what can and will be done.


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