We are sharing here essential terms commonly used by professionals that family caregivers should understand in order to empower them during their journey of love, caring for an aging loved one or an early onset Alzheimer’s parent.
Person-centered care: requires understanding the world from the perspective of the individual living with dementia. It encourages caregivers to take into account a person’s interests, abilities, history and personality to inform interactions and care decisions.
Dementia-related behaviors: behavioral symptoms in addition to the progressive memory loss often include:
- Aggression and anger
- Anxiety and agitation
- Sleep disturbances and sundowning
- Suspicions and delusions
Underlying medical conditions, environmental influences and some medications can impact these behaviors or make them worse.
Caregiver burnout: mental, physical and emotional exhaustion often accompanied by guilt for not doing “enough.”
Respite care: provides family caregivers a temporary rest from caregiving, while the person living with Alzheimer’s continues to receive care in a safe environment. It can be provided at home — by a friend, other family member, volunteer or paid service — or in a care setting, such as adult day care or long-term care community. Using respite services can support caregivers.
Care consultation or ParentingOurParents (POP) Family Coaching: Coaching on an as needed basis for some or all relevant family members can support planning ahead, giving the family some sense of control, and offers professional support of the family through tough decisions, anticipation of future challenges and help to develop an effective care plan. With master-level clinicians working with families, as we offer at www.ParentingOurParents.org, much relief and often unexpected help can become available. In addition, Medicare covers care planning so ask your health provider about this important benefit.
Treatment pipeline: There are more than 100 disease-modifying Alzheimer’s treatments in clinical trials – researchers often refer to this as the treatment pipeline. Earlier this fall, positive topline results from phase 3 clinical trials for the treatment of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease were announced!
If you are in a family struggling with your loved one’s dementia, please take advantage of all the help you can get!