On June 4, 2018 a small group of 8 people, mostly caregivers of Dementia patients, gathered in the Activity Room at Brightview Towson. Deborah Hanna, Community Awareness Coordinator was the facilitator.
Several of the eight people had loved ones at a facility. As it turns out all had their loved ones at WellSpring Dementia section at Brightview Towson. These people talked about how well they thought Brightview does caring for their residents. The other people lived with or visited their loved ones at home. They had only thought about where and if they would be looking at facilities. Deborah Hanna was excellent in helping people think about this and put in words how they felt about this. Those who are 24/7 caregivers explained how difficult it is becoming for them to continue their own normal lives. Some of them had a few hours a day relief with a home health aid coming in during the week. All said how exhausting it is to care for a person with dementia. Simply because it does not get better, it continues to get worse.
Deborah had ideas how they could help the situation. One suggestion is take time for yourself. Get out to a movie, a concert, the gym, lunch with friends or relatives. Most importantly, get out and take care of yourself before you burn out.
“We all need to understand, that dementia patients can not get into our world, we have to learn to get into their’s,” Deborah said, If they keep talking about their deceased spouse, just go along with what they say. Don’t criticize. You will definitely end up in an argument. And that could turn ugly. Also, introduce some music or brush their hair or dance with them. Music is a universal language. It appears that the part of the brain that enjoys music is not affected by dementia, for some unknown reason. It often soothes and calms people making them feel good. Touching these loved ones is important as well.
There will be more sessions similar to this in the future at Brightview Towson.
Brightview Towson is a Corporate member of Maryland Senior Resource Network.