Dementia has been dubbed the plague of the 21st century. According to the world health organization (who), worldwide there are about 50 million people with dementia. Who experts are already sounding the alarm. According to them, by 2050 the number affected by dementia people could double.
The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. It accounts for about 70% of all cases. In Russia about Alzheimer’s speak little and softly. Doctors often write off the first signs of disease in old age. Eventually, the disease progresses, and care for the elderly becomes difficult. How to care for the elderly with Alzheimer’s disease and not to burn yourself, to Lead.Medicine told the experts of ANO “Altrus” (organization involved in providing patient care to patients with Alzheimer’s and their families).
“I would like to make about dementia spoke as well as talk about the flu”
In the world of dementia and Alzheimer’s paying a lot of attention, as well as the support of relatives. In Russia everything is difficult, says the President of ANO “Altrus” Alexandra Shchetkina.
In Russia the problems of dementia professionally engaged in multiple organizations, and the fingers of one hand will suffice to count them. There are two such locomotive is ANO “Altrus” (a non-profit organization “Help for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and their families”) and the project “Memini”, organized by the Russian representation of the German company “Merz Pharma”.
For example, the current law relative who is caring for the elderly with dementia, is based on compensation for 1.2 thousand rubles. To do something this amount is unrealistic. Of course, there are free medicines, hygiene products, technical rehabilitation, which put the elderly with dementia. But even here there are problems.
First, the relatives often do not avail themselves of the help offered by the state. In the end, there is a serious burnout. Secondly, we have a problem is no longer that small, and that it is difficult to obtain – you need to collect many documents, to pass all instances. If all that is necessary to receive from the state, work, the life of the person with dementia would be much better and easier.
With regard to awareness about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, here too, while it’s complicated, admits Alexandra Shchetkina. Themselves therapists often are not aware of the signs of dementia. And when at the appointment the doctor say that the older person has poor memory, the doctor replied, “what do you want, he’s 70 years, this old age”. But dementia is not normal aging process.
I would like to make about dementia say the same as talking about the flu because the disease is no less serious. For example, to outpatient clinics have been posters who have talked about what is Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s is an incurable disease, but this does not mean that person should be left without therapy. At least, this is unethical. So the sooner treatment begins, the easier it will be to survive the disease all.
People need to understand that if their relatives were to forget something, repeat several times the same, then you should seriously attend to their health and go to a specialist.
Now we cooperate with the government, and it slowly unfolds to this problem. We are already working with the Moscow Department of social welfare, centres for social security. In General, build bridges, and almost always these structures respond. For example, help in the dissemination of information, says the President of ANO “Altrus”.
“We are conducting a “School of concern” – one-day seminars, which are held every three months. For them our experts tell the family about what Alzheimer’s is, what her stage and how they occur, what medicines, etc. Because often relatives do not know anything about the disease. And this is also a problem. And medical facts help to clarify and to reduce the degree of stress,” she says.
The second part of our school usually devoted to leisure patients with Alzheimer’s, care, interaction with government, protection of human rights. Many elderly live separately from the family, and this is security issues. This, too, we are talking about.
Relatives in such schools can ask any questions – how to wash, feed, take for a walk the elderly. This is especially true if the patient does not want to do anything. Our experts understand all these cases, tell us how to behave.
The questions usually depend on the stage of the disease, said doctor gerontopsychiatry, chief of the clinic of Mental health Center, Vice-President of ANO “Altrus” Maria Gantman. In the early stages often asked how the disease would progress to what the state can reach people. Frequently asked questions about genetic risk. Many do not realize that Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease, and with time the person will be lying. This information need to take.
At advanced stages – a lot of domestic issues. For example, the patient does not want to eat or walk. Here we must try to peacefully resolve this issue. For the doctors themselves it is also useful to come to the school or to watch the seminar remotely, advises Maria Hartmann. Because therapists usually ask those questions that we answer.
The communication with the doctors and other relatives therapeutically influences the participants, helps them to reduce stress, experts say.
Of course, while such events a bit, experts say. For example, there are school clinics at. But here, too, is an issue of awareness – many people simply do not know about them. I took care of aunt, who had Alzheimer’s disease. And when I tried to find a similar school, are unable to make it, admits Alexandra Shchetkina.
Leisure and safety
For people with dementia who do not work and do not work, any activity is leisure. The main thing that the man liked what he was doing, says Maria Gantman.
A lot depends on whom the patient had worked before, was it the character. Some people like to knit, someone with a dog to walk. And if one does not like to do what you suggest, that force is not necessary.
“Still need to be prepared for the fact that people without your supervision will not maintain its activity for a long time. People with dementia, with Alzheimer’s, the problems to do something on their own initiative. You’re standing next to, he’s doing that, you moved away – he was distracted and forgot it. It does not matter if these lessons last long,” – says the doctor.
Format of activities can be Alzheimer’s café, which organizes “Altrus”. It’s such a family meeting with the elderly with dementia with their relatives. They talk, dance, sing. You can come here and not worry that your loved one will do something or be something, and, according to Maria Gantman.
In the summer, for example, to organize the rest just simply because many retirees are passionate about their country and feel the country is much better, said the doctor. So over the holiday nothing particularly to invent is not necessary.
The main danger in the country is that elderly people can leave in an unknown direction. If we talk about the technical solution could be a mobile phone connected to a tracking function, which is placed in the clothes of an elderly person. Of course, we cannot discard the fact that the city can be a communication problem.
Generally a person with dementia can be left to a certain point, namely until advanced stages. If he had once left and lost, then to leave the elderly unattended definitely not.
Speaking about security in the apartment, you first need to understand where the threat might come. Sometimes people are very mobile, agile but do not understand. In this case, first of all, you need to control the throttle. For example, to remove knobs from gas stoves, to replace it with the microwave and the usual kettle electric. Someone always opens the water and forgets to close it. In this situation it is better to block the water.
If the person, on the contrary, bad moves, he has a shuffling gait, it is best to remove the sill plates and floor mats, which he may stumble. If he gets up in the night to the toilet, it is necessary that the path was safe and lit.
Don’t put this on yourself, so as not to burn out
Alzheimer’s disease is not a problem of the individual. Where there is a patient with dementia almost always have a close person who is caring for him. And such care – great work. It’s hard both physically and mentally. People change, and relatives difficult to accept a completely different your close. And here arises the problem of burnout of relatives, experts say.
“This is a complex ethical problem in the first place, and as a former family member was faced with such a problem. Our elderly aunt lived alone. None of us would be around the clock because of all the work. Once she left home, we were looking for her. It was stressful for everyone. Such cases are not unique, unfortunately. The question arose – what to do?” – the President of ANO “Altrus”.
Of course, one needs to consider each case individually, she continues. To see what resources a family has. Of course, it is impossible that one relative everyone have shouldered. Necessary alternate plan of care. We should not forget about the rest. You need to think in advance who you will be able to substitute for the holidays, to prepare for this. But just to abandon the rest is not. If you vigorita, no patient care will be gone.
You can consider the option of boarding houses. If you have the opportunity to organize a round-the-clock care (and it is important when a person has a progression of the disease), the elderly better stay home. Houses and walls help.
Another thing, if he sits alone in four walls while you are working. Then, perhaps, better if it is supervised. In the boarding house he will and leisure, and nutrition, and socialization. You need to look into that – how qualified staff in the boarding house as he has, is it possible to visit the clock when it comes to food and leisure.
And if you ever visit a relative, continue to take care of it, then this Guesthouse is not so terrible as it might seem at first glance. Another thing, when you passed your close to a hotel and forgot. That is, of course, bad. For our family, for example, the boarding house became an exit. Although this decision was originally given to us.
Still have the service “Social assistant”, which provide various assistance. For example, will help to inject or work around the house. Currently, there is a helpline you can contact them. If possible, you should see a therapist to communicate with other family members. You can’t keep, need to drop the psychological burden.
“Generally, we have that, to experience it in, within their own family. But it is wrong. All what the state offers, you need to use the maximum, because the care of such a sick person – this is a great work,” concludes Alexandra Shchetkina.