Caregivers for seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s have to make mammoth sacrifices to fulfill the everyday requirements their loved one’s health demands, and that’s the reason why Alzheimer’s Caregiver is the road less traveled.
Even those willing to take this tough path lack the crucial skills, resources, and guidance from medical experts required for the full execution of the role. Therefore, it’s crucial to be aware of the challenges that might arise to provide the best care for the person you are looking after.
Let’s explore the challenges that the majority of carers face when doing their job.
Navigating the Challenges of Alzheimer’s Caregiving
A study published in Sage Journal provided a deep analysis of what challenges caregivers may face. In that study, four focus groups were conducted in an academic setting in a primary care clinic. These gatherings transpired through a meticulously structured interview protocol and were facilitated by a mental health specialist.
The study’s authors found three key themes regarding participants’ opinions of the treatment they got following a loved one’s Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) diagnosis in all four focus groups. The difficulty of the care obtained following the diagnosis and the amount of annoyance with the overall coordination of medical care largely determined the tone of each focus group. The three main themes that were identified were:
- A lack of medical information given by providers.
- Complications With Medication Management.
- Level of Confidence in the Medical Team.
Let’s delve deeper to achieve a proper understanding of each of the themes:
Lack of Medical Information Given by Providers
Diagnosis was not thoroughly communicated to the caregiver or patient
The lack of information and reports provided to the family during initial appointments was a recurring complaint in all four focus groups. The terms Dementia, cognitive impairment, or Alzheimer’s are often never verbalized or discussed after the screening and diagnosis of the caregiver’s patient. This resulted in caregivers being confused about the condition of their loved ones and how to proceed with the care.
Follow-up information was missing after the initial appointment
Another sub-theme that emerged was how after the initial consultations, caregivers were left with questions and in need of further knowledge. All participants who reported this issue agreed that the medical staff did not adequately address basic AD queries. The participants were required to look for extra information outside of their regular medical sessions. These people specifically mentioned “google searches,” “Internet browsing,” and “specific books on Alzheimer’s and dementia” as resources used.
Complications With Medication Management
Lack of competency and knowledge around medications
The topic of medications for effective treatment of AD frequently arose, where problems in regards to details of precipitation and their loved one’s schedule management were nothing but pure struggles. Common among all the participating groups was the additional challenge of caretaking that arose because of the details of the medication provided. Individuals faced several issues when their medical team did not effectively pass the proper knowledge of the prescribed medication to them.
Difficulties in detecting side effects
Some group narratives among people who had pharmaceutical issues revealed that it was hard to tell whether side effects were brought on by the AD drugs. Participants who were attempting to educate themselves about certain drugs discovered more information online than they did from their doctors. Insomnia and exhaustion, for example, were two physical symptoms that caregivers were unsure were typical for the medication(s) being used.
Level of Confidence in the Medical Team
Getting a second opinion after the initial appointment
A lot of caregivers felt that it was crucial to seek other opinions apart from those provided by their doctors to get more knowledge and thoroughness. Based on remarks from various participants, it was challenging for a number of clinicians to reach an agreement on the precise diagnosis or the extent of the patient’s memory loss. A few individuals mentioned that getting a second opinion had always been encouraged by family, friends, or other people. These caregivers often checked in with family members to exchange suggestions on the support, expertise, and thoroughness of various providers on AD.
Wrapping it Up!
The lack of knowledge and the right approach are the major causes why most individuals are a bit scared to provide care for seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s and other memory-related issues. To ensure that you overcome the challenges mentioned above, ensure to properly educate yourself about the medical problem your loved one is suffering from.
One more thing that must be done is to have proper communication with the team of medical professionals looking after the case. This will ensure that you are aware of the particular need your senior requires and what steps should be taken in case of any mishaps.
Try to educate yourself about this condition as much as possible. Being aware of the challenges can help you be mentally prepared for the situation and deal with the possible complications.