Care-givers meeting - Advanced Dementia Care

The monthly caregiver’s meeting was held on Saturday, 29th January, 2011 between 2 – 3 p.m, at Conference hall, first floor, Millennium Block, NIMS.

This month’s topic was “Advanced Dementia Care”. The audience comprised family members and ARDSI volunteers.

Dr Gayatri Palat, Consultant in Department of Palliative care, MNJ Cancer Institute, asked the audience to share some points where more care is required. Some of the concerns were as follows:

  1. The Dementia Person forgets where she is and in which situation she is.
  2. The Person’s mother expired long back, but she forgot that fact.
  3. In the later stages, the person has many physical problems and is unable to communicate his problems.

Dr Gayatri said that the Dementia person faces a certain situation called “Social death” where he/she is alive but socially cut with what is happening around. There are common physical problems associated with old age and a person with Dementia may not be able to communicate his problems and express agitation, resistance, anxiety, frustration and restlessness. Constipation is also a very common problem for which palliative care can help.

She highlighted the importance of revealing the diagnosis in the early stages where the person will be in a position to take his decisions and can hand over his responsibility regarding property or any other important life decisions.

Mrs Aparna, one of the caregivers shared her experience with her father in law who was a Dementia patient and expired 5 months back. Some of the problems faced were lack of communication, restlessness, socially unacceptable behaviour and swallowing. She also stressed that an attendant is necessary as many of the caregivers may not have the time and emotional capability to take care. And an association is important, where caregivers come together to share their problems and get new ideas.

Later Dr Gayatri has given a power point presentation which highlighted symptoms of Advanced Dementia [like, confusion, urinary incontinence, pain, low mood, constipation, loss of appetite], importance of psychosocial care, spiritual care and emotional care, reasons for bed-sores, most common areas, problems caused due to bed-sores and their management which include prevention and general skin care and also explained the process of bed making.

The meeting concluded with questions from caregivers regarding Advanced Dementia and they were answered respectively.