Tag Archives: elderly caregiver (senior citizen caregiver)

Early warnings, diagnosis, medication, side-effects, an elderly father as caregiver: a daughter talks of her mother’s dementia

Mala (name changed) has a mother suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, something the family found out only after years of watching her slowly-increasing forgetfulness. Care is being given by Mala’s father, who refuses help. In this interview, Mala goes down memory lane to describe the early symptoms, the diagnosis and treatment, the family’s coordination for the care, and Mala’s own hope and guilt.

Please share something about your family.

Daddy (now almost 80 years old) is my mother’s caregiver, and while we all try to support him in various ways, he insists he does not need more help right now, and will ask for help if he needs it.

We are three siblings; I have two elder brothers and I am the youngest. Our family is an upper middle class family, and we are all educated and pursuing good careers. Daddy retired over a decade ago, and Mummy was a home maker. All of us currently live in the same city; my eldest brother and his family lives at some distance, my other brother and his family live next door to my parents, and I live with my in-laws just a few minutes of walking distance.

Daddy (now almost 80 years old) is my mother’s caregiver, and while we all try to support him in various ways, he insists he does not need more help right now, and will ask for help if he needs it.

Tell us about your mother before the symptoms started.

Mummy was what we would probably call an ideal homemaker. Though a graduate who had worked for some years, she was happy to leave her job and switch to full-time home making. My father, a quiet man, worked at his job, earning money. Mummy was the one who was always there for us, her children, when we were younger. She loved to cook for us. She was very social, and was prominent within our community for her participation in various group activities.

Read the full post here : Early warnings, diagnosis, medication, side-effects, an elderly father as caregiver: a daughter talks of her mother’s dementia

My husband is a living doll: A 78-year-old wife taking care of her 86-year-old husband

Saraswathi Subramoney, 78 years old, is the caregiver for her 86-year-old husband who suffers from Parkinsonian dementia. The couple lives in central Bangalore in a well-appointed apartment full of curios gathered over the decades. Their children (they live in other cities) visit often to help and comfort, but Saraswathi is primarily responsible for her husband’s care and has to cope with it alone most of the time. In this interview, she shares the progression of her husband’s condition, her ways of handling care, and her feeling of exhaustion and overwhelm.

Can you describe the events that led to your husband’s diagnosis?

The first indication that something was wrong with my husband came around 3.5 years ago, when he fell down a couple of times. We visited Mumbai soon after, and consulted a senior doctor in a leading hospital there. The doctor assessed my husband, conducted various tests and scans, and finally declared that what happened to my husband was only “old age” (my husband was 83 years old). The doctor showed us the brain scans, pointed out some areas, and said the gaps were caused by “ageing”.

We returned to Bangalore. Over the next few months, my husband’s condition worsened to a point I found very difficult to handle. Examples of the behavior he showed were:

  • Losing balance while walking or climbing stairs
  • Fits of anger and shouting
  • Insisting on going for “work” (though he had retired long ago)
  • Insisting on going out for errands that were not needed (such as booking tickets at the railway station)

Read the full post here : My husband is a living doll: A 78-year-old wife taking care of her 86-year-old husband

His condition affected every sphere of my life: a son talks of his father’s Alzheimer’s

Varun (name changed) is a writer whose father has dementia (Alzheimer’s). For a few years, Varun helped his mother care for his father, but later, his mother decided to move with the father to their hometown because she felt he would be more comfortable there, and care would be simpler with relatives and friends around them. Below, Varun shares his experiences and thoughts about caregiving.

“Varun”, who gave this interview anonymously in November 2010, continued to ponder and process his caregiver experiences and, increasingly began sharing them with friends and caregivers. He is now open about this aspect of his life, and wishes to give his real name: “Varun” is “Eshwar Sundaresan.” We have retained the interview below as originally published, and have also added, at the bottom of this interview, the link to a blog post he made in September 2013, where he shares his personal growth derived from his experiences with his father’s dementia.

For the period your father was living with you, how did his condition affect your work, leisure, and social life? What sort of adjustments did you need to make to balance your other roles/ aspirations with this responsibility?

His condition affected every sphere of my life.

My leisure time and social life dipped to zero.

I don many roles in my professional life – writer, journalist, consultant, and others– and I began staying at home more than usual so that I could handle any emergency that presented itself. I inevitably lost some revenue, but I felt that my mother needed my presence in those first three years. On two occasions, I went overseas on important assignments and I was forever anxious about the home front. My mother handled him extremely well in my absence. During these overseas stints, I also had the guilty realisation that I was enjoying my father’s absence. By not seeing him and my mother suffer on a daily basis, I felt… liberated. I admonished myself for being a bad son, but I couldn’t ignore this overwhelming sense of relief flooding through me.

Read the full post here : His condition affected every sphere of my life: a son talks of his father’s Alzheimer’s