Tag Archives: treatment

Home care for late stage dementia, Part 5: Eating/ swallowing problems

Home care for persons in late-stage dementia is very challenging. In a series of interviews, Dr.Soumya Hegde, Bangalore-based Consultant Geriatric Psychiatrist, discusses various aspects of home care for advanced dementia, and provides useful information and several practical suggestions. Part 5 discusses a very common area of concern: when someone with dementia starts having eating/ swallowing problems. …

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Home care for late stage dementia, Part 2: Getting medical advice and preparing for decline

Home care for persons in late-stage dementia is very challenging. In a series of interviews, Dr.Soumya Hegde, Bangalore-based Consultant Geriatric Psychiatrist, discusses various aspects of home care for advanced dementia, and provides useful information and several practical suggestions. Part 2 discusses how to get medical attention, stay in touch with doctors, and cope with the deteriorating medical status and related decisions. …

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Topic Reads: Current medications for dementia

This page gives some excerpts and links for current medical treatments available for dementia.

Many medical conditions can create dementia symptoms. Research focus is mainly on Alzheimer’s Disease, the commonest form of dementia. But there are no disease-modifying therapies even for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Here is an excerpt from page 12 of the 2015 Facts and Figures report of Alzheimer’s Association, USA (report published in March, 2015):

…none of the treatments available today for Alzheimer’s disease slows or stops the damage to neurons that causes Alzheimer’s
symptoms and eventually makes the disease fatal.

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Topic reads: anti-psychotic medicines and dementia

This page shares excerpts and links for caregivers who want to understand more about using anti-psychotics for dementia behavior. It provides links to pages from the Alzheimer’s Society, UK and Alzheimer’s Association, USA. Caregivers can read these to prepare for the discussion with their doctors.

Anti-psychotics can help in some situations of extremely difficult dementia behavior. But they are not always helpful. Their side-effects also need to be considered. According to current thinking, anti-psychotics are prescribed more often than necessary for dementia patients.

For example, a page on Antipsychotic drugs on the Alzheimer’s Society, UK, website mentions the over-prescription of antipsychotics.

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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.

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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.

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Voices: Caregiving in the news

This page provides links to some online news reports, articles, and personal essays that include dementia caregiver stories from India. They provide an insight into real-life experiences of dementia situations here, the challenges faced, what families do, problems due to lack of information and poor awareness in society, and the use or limitations of various support mechanisms, etc. Articles have been selected to provide a cross-section of recent caregiver experiences and are arranged by their main theme for the convenience of the reader. Themes include: Wandering, Early onset dementia, Elderly caregivers, Decisions and experiences around using care homes, day cares, and attendants, “Remote” caregivers, arrangements, and guilt, Diverse care situations, symptoms, challenges, introspection, comments, and Personal blogs that span the entire dementia experience.

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Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention

Some examples of prominent international persons who got dementia are: Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Iris Murdoch, and Terry Pratchett. Some examples from India are Teji Bacchan (Amitabh Bachhan’s mother), and George Fernandes. Some links related to prominent persons with dementia are included in the “See Also” section at the bottom.

If someone shows dementia symptoms, it is best to consult a doctor. Doctors will perform the required checks to understand whether the person has dementia. They will try to find out which diseases could be causing the symptoms.

  • Anyone can get dementia.
  • Why early diagnosis is important.
  • Whom to approach.
  • Diagnosis.
  • Problems in diagnosis (missed diagnosis, wrong diagnosis).
  • After the diagnosis.
  • Treatment and research.
  • Prevalence and risk factors.
  • Reducing the risk of dementia.
  • Genetics (risk if close relatives have dementia).
  • See Also…

Read the full post here : Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention