WESTBOROUGH, MA January 20, 2015 Dementia is a life changing affliction for both the patient suffering with the neurocognitive decline and spouse and family members alike. Caregivers have a particular cross to bear – especially those without support. It is a highly stressful role for any spouse that requires both education and support. They are at high risk for burnout otherwise known as caregiver fatigue. For anyone who has had a loved one suffer with this disease “it is like seeing a family member die slowly, daily, withering away into an empty vessel” according to Michael Sefton, Ph.D., Director of Neuropsychology at Whittier Rehabilitation Hospital in Westborough, MA. “It is very important to obtain a careful and sound neuropsychological assessment of patients’ suspected of having dementia because so many conditions mimic dementia and may be treatable” according to Sefton.
When a caregiver is overwhelmed something must be done to provide emotional respite for the spouse or family member. Caregiving spouses frequently have powerful feelings of guilt, anger, and sadness as a result of seeing a loved one become forgetful, detached, and confused. They can be extremely difficult to managed in the home setting and sometimes require specialized day treatment. The decision to hospitalize or seek nursing home admission for a family member is an individual one. It is critical to look at the functional change in the afflicted family member and see what placement options make the most sense. Caregiver fatigue places afflicted patients at greater risk for neglect, battery and abuse than other medically complex cases. It places caregivers at risk for health problems of their own.
Throughout America, physicians and psychologist alike are mandated reporters for cases of suspected abuse – regardless of whether the caregiver is experiencing caregiver fatigue or not. Family members are strongly encouraged to support parents, e.g. respite care for afflicted parent, whenever one is suffering from a severe illness like dementia. Read the post at link below.