Seminar to help caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease | Glade Sun
Fairfield Glade Community Church will host a free community event, “Help Me Understand the Aging Brain”. The event is an educational seminar, intended to help those who have become the caregiver of someone with Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is known to cause a slow decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning that later destroys these important mental functions. There are approximately 120,000 people living with Alzheimer’s disease in Tennessee in 2020, but that number is expected to increase 16.7% by 2025, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. The same report states that Alzheimer’s disease is the fourth leading cause of death in Cumberland County, which has a 10% prevalence rate of Alzheimer’s disease.
As a progressive disease, Alzheimer’s disease has a mild onset but eventually leaves patients unable to care for themselves. Often, the children or grandchildren of people with Alzheimer’s disease suddenly find themselves in a situation where they must become the primary caregivers of their loved one.
One such person was Marie Moran, who became a caregiver shortly after her mother was diagnosed with dementia, who eventually died from the disease.
“At first she wasn’t so bad that you had to take care of her day to day, but as time went on she forgot who you were,” Moran said. “She looked at you and said:
‘Who are you?’
‘I am your daughter.’
“No, you’re not.”
‘Mom, look in the mirror.’
Then she looked at me. ‘No, you are not my daughter.’
“That’s the hardest part,” Moran added.
Moran advised people to familiarize themselves with the early signs of dementia, so they would be better prepared for the situation should it arise. Some of these signs include memory loss that interferes with daily life, difficulty planning or problem solving, difficulty performing familiar tasks, confusion with time or place, difficulty understanding pictures or words. spatial relationships, new problems with speaking or writing, impaired judgment, social withdrawal. and mood or personality changes.
Since many people with Alzheimer’s disease not only lose their memory, but also their sense of judgment and decision-making, caregivers need to keep a watchful eye, which includes restricting their access to everything. which can cause them to hurt themselves or others.
“When someone has dementia, you have to take away their knives and forks. You have to put locks on the inside of the doors, which is very, very difficult,” Moran said. “When she was going out, she was trying to run into people’s garages, begging for help, because she had no idea what was going on, who you were, nothing.”
As her mother’s dementia progressed, it got to the point where Moran had to keep her locked inside the house all day and night. Even so, her mother would often try to leave at night when everyone was asleep. Moran described one such incident where her mother came to the salon fully dressed, ready to leave with her purse and her poodle. After being unable to open the front door, she left through another exit through the laundry room, completely forgetting to bring both the purse and her dog with her.
She then walked alone to a busy road, where someone in a car stopped and asked if she needed help. Moran’s mother refused, saying she was just walking to a bus stop so she could shop downtown. It was around 3 a.m.
Police and an ambulance were then called to examine him and police found the door open to Moran’s home. Police woke Moran and his family to pick up his mother, but his mother refused to get in the car, saying she had no idea who her husband and child were.
“When someone has dementia, it’s 24/7. You feel like a babysitter, because you follow them wherever they go to make sure they don’t cause trouble or don’t get anyone else in trouble,” Moran explained. “It gets to the point where you even have to feed them, like a baby. You have to do everything for them. So it’s a bit like a person who is a shell.
“It’s hard to see a parent go from being a parent to someone you have to keep, who you have to parent,” Moran continued.
Moran said being a caregiver would require having the patience and stamina to potentially devote almost all of your time to caring for your loved one.
“It wears you out,” Moran said.
Those who don’t have these things, or the time to do them, may need to look for other options.
However, these options are often not feasible for most people. The monthly cost of assisted living facilities in Tennessee ranges between $3,018 and $4,500, which can be a major challenge to afford – the 2020 median household income in Cumberland County was around $49,423 .
“If you’ve saved your whole life and all of a sudden you have to put a loved one in a house, prepare to have nothing in the end,” Moran said. “For me, my parents gave me so much when I was growing up; I needed to give back.
Moran will be present at the Aging Brain event, where Tennessee Alzheimer’s Regional Director Cheryl Blanchard will be one of the guest speakers alongside 10 guest exhibitors. The church at which the event will take place is located at 521 Snead Dr., and the event will take place between 9 a.m. and noon. Snacks and resource materials are free for attendees.