Families Coping with Dementia
can stir up angry and conflicted feelings as well as bring out the
most loving and unselfish side of a full time caregiver. Verbal abuse, bruises on an
elderly person’s arms or legs from restraining, squeezing, or
pinching can happen when caregivers are depressed, angry, or
overwhelmed with having toprovide care for a family member with
have found that dementia is a definite risk factor for abuse
caregiver stress, combined with unrealistic expectations of a person
suffering from dementia, can lead to abuse or neglect by
Assessing the Needs of
1. How much rest are caregivers getting?
2. What personal sacrifices are caregivers making in order to serve
the person’s needs?
3. Are caregivers neglecting their own health?
4. Is constant surveillance required as part of care tasks?
5. Have caregivers turned to alcohol or drug abuse in their
substance abuse been lifelong?
How drastically has the older person’s personality
changed in response to
caregivers receiving verbal or physical abuse from the person in
8. Is the primary caregiver overwhelmed by demands from
dependent people at once?
9. Are financial constraints interfering with the caregiver’s ability
10. Are problems
from the family history resurfacing and contributing to
Warning Signs of Stress and
falling asleep or remaining asleep; waking up early in the morning feeling
anxious or irritable; unable to stop worrying or ruminating.
over-eating or loss of appetite; significant weight gain or loss.
medication or alcohol usage: Overuse of sleeping pills, painkillers, alcohol, or caffeine.
short-temperedness, crying, or agitation; expressionless face or flat tone
of voice; recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.
resistance to illness; delay or neglect of vital physical needs; poor
fatigue: loss of energy;
decreased motivation, concentration, and attention; unending sense of
impatience when giving care; hitting, pushing, or yelling when frustrated
or angered; neglecting vital care tasks.
Taking Care of Aging
Lustbader and Hooyman
Factors to Consider When
Siblings Share the Care
worries about the inheritance straining arrangements for care?
Are these strains unspoken or out in the open?
2. How geographically spread out are the siblings? Does only one live locally, or are
the majority nearby?
3. Does a large financial disparity exist between siblings? Does one have far greater
resources than the other(s).
has been the nature of siblings’ adult relationship with each other? Have they had minimal contact or
active friendships with each other?
obviously do the parents have a favorite or a scapegoat among the
siblings? Have these feelings
been carried over into adult life?
6. Is there a natural leader among the siblings? Has one mediated conflicts or
consistently helped the others?
there a health care professional among the siblings? Do the others view this person as
the one who should provide the care or make the decisions?
there a split in the family between those who want to take care of the
parent at home and those who prefer to seek nursing home placement?
the family expect daughters to be caregivers in preference to the
sons? Do the women accept
10. What are the other
obligations pressuring each sibling? Do some have
young children or other relatives for whom
they are already providing care?