Introduction - Caring For Someone With Dementia

I was a carer to my dad for over 12 years and if I had known at the beginning what I know now, it would have made things a lot easier.

I am writing this blog as an aide to those people who care for someone with dementia.

To be clear, I am not a nurse, doctor, or posses any formal medical qualifications or knowledge. The information and advice I post here is advisory and you should always seek advice from a medical professional.

This blog is based on my experiences of looking after my dad who had Frontotemporal dementia and Parkinson's disease. He passed away in August 2016.

Although dementia and Parkinson's are two separate diseases, they do tend to go hand in hand. So, if an elderly person gets Parkinson's, they will likely get dementia too. But a person getting Parkinson's disease, especially a younger person, may never get dementia. The best example of this is the American actor Michael J Fox who got Parkinson's at a very young age.

Dementia is a disease. It is not a natural part of ageing. At time of writing this first blog article (March 2017) there is no known cure for dementia or Parkinson's.

There are several different kinds of dementia. My dad had Frontotemporal dementia which is the worst one to get and affects only a minority of the population. Most people who get dementia tend to get Alzheimer's disease.

My blogs on this subject will be in three main chapters covering early dementia, the middle stages and the final stages. As the final stages of dementia are the most recent for me, I will start with that, but I may post about the other stages at various times and out of order.

Although these diseases are terrible and only head in one direction, there are laughs along the way and I hope this blog will give you a little bit of hope, as well as information, if you are dealing with this condition.

My next articles will cover aspects of the final stages of dementia.

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Comments 12

  • Great blog and articles. I understand You, Horizon from the bottom to the top, because I also cared about my dement grandmother born in 1926 and died in 2013. After the professional helping woman from Lithuania left after only one month in 2008, I immediately took the chance to care for her. My mother gave me the same money like the professional got. Until the death of grandmum it was the hardest 5 years of my life. You cry with the one, you laugh with the person, and you are angry too, about all the things which go wrong. Only washing her, this only thing was made by an kind of ambulance/nursery which come one time each day, to bring her up from bed and wash her. Then I had to feed her at breakfast...

    • Thank you.

      The whole reason I set this site up was, in part, to talk about my past experience with dementia, but then soon after my mother was diagnosed with it and the past became the present again...

  • My grandfather had Parkinson's, but no dementia. This is possibly because he got Parkinson's from nerve damage caused by his survival of Typhoid fever. The extreme fever causes damage that comes out later on.

    • Parkinson's in itself, is awful LW.

      My dad was "lucky" in some respects as he got a milder version of Parkinson's. He had some hand tremor, but some people shake so bad, they cannot hold cups. It's only when his dementia got more advanced in combination with the Parkinson's, that it was utterly devastating for him and things like holding cups became impossible. Although, at that point he probably wouldn't have know what a cup was to hold it anyway.

    • So sorry to hear this, H. My grandad was eventually bed ridden by Parkinson's and it killed him finally.

    • But on the horizon (pardon the pun) there is light.

      Because I was so busy with my dad, then since his death I've kept busy with other things including creating this forum, I'm not up on the latest research. But once I've read up on things, I will create a blog article about it. But basically, if caught early enough, there may now be drugs which can slow down or even stop dementia in its tracks. Diet is also a major part of stopping it, as well as simply using the mind and socialising, something hard for the elderly, as they are so isolated.

    • I studied the effects of Alz when I was doing behaviour from brain damage in Psychology at uni, but that was in the late 1990s. I have seen a lot of stuff recently about new studies and ways of helping to teach the brain to learn new pathways if the old ones get damaged. Interesting to see what you can find.

    • There's two things there.

      One, is, as you say, finding pathways so that the brain can reroute itself, so to speak. But once the "rot" sets in, then that's when the drugs, gene therapy, stem cell treatment, whatever it is, takes over.

      It will be cracked, it has to. No country can afford to have masses of its own people who are demented. Either a cure will come, or the poor people, as is mostly the case today, will just be left to rot.

      Just wait until I get going properly on this subject. I am going to shout about it from the rafters on the forum. It's why I set the site up. Well, one of the reasons.