When families watch one of their loved ones struggle with dementia, it can feel like you’re getting dragged down by their hazy memory. You love this person, and you hold their memories close, working to help them remember or comforting them and going along with their ideas to make their days easier.
It can be exhausting to work through, even as a caregiver.
Loving them is easy, but having the strength to care for them every single day can become difficult over time. Palliative care is one of the best options out there, but is it the right one for you?
What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is specialized care that’s focused on providing relief from the symptoms of a serious illness. This isn’t just for dementia. It’s also offered for cancer and heart failure to make working through it easier for everyone involved.
This can be carried out through at-home primary care or can be handled in a facility that specializes in this form of care. It makes everything easier for everyone involved.
For the Patient
Palliative care can help patients with dementia by easing the strain and stress of the environment the patient is in. Their care support is someone new coming into the picture that doesn’t have more information than the patient and family give them and can build a genuine connection with the patient.
They become someone the patient can talk to or ask questions, having been trained in how to handle anything in this specific line of care.
For the Caregiver
Palliative care is vital for caregivers because it gives them some semblance of normalcy back. There’s a lot of stress and anguish that comes with watching someone you love slowly forget about you and themself. Dementia can change how people react, what emotions they show, and how they treat others around them, and it can all be stressful to witness if you’re someone who’s loved and cared for them for years.
Palliative care gives you room to breathe so you can always meet your family member at your best and give them the support they need.
Is This a Form of Hospice?
Hospice and palliative care are different to some degree. Hospice is considered the end of life care, making patients and their loved ones as comfortable as possible in the final months, weeks, and days so it’s more peaceful. Although there’s no neglect in hospice, there’s also generally no intent to cure patients and heal them of whatever they’re struggling through.
Palliative care can either have curative intent or not, but it’s usually done when there’s been no statement about the patient only having a set number of months or days left. Although there’s no cure for dementia currently, it’s still cared for under palliative care.
You Shouldn’t Struggle With a Loved One’s Dementia Alone
Although you may feel like it’s the strong, or the right thing to do, struggling alone without asking for help could be the worst possible choice for both you and your loved one with dementia. Seek help for both of you, and create an easier dementia plan.