When family caregiving follows you to work. Part 7 of 9
A nine-part series for family caregivers and employers. When family caregiving roles conflict with work and career obligations.
Part 7 of 9: I have been answering a list of questions that came via email to the weekly GOING HOME, STAYING HOME virtual seminar that I cohost. In February, we will answer some recent questions that have come as feedback on some of the things we have recently discussed. Here is our next very big question, so we will discuss this in 3 parts.
Q: My father seems to be getting forgetful and will occasionally think I am his sister rather than his daughter. He is very strong-willed and has traditional masculine values, so he won’t admit to needing any sort of treatment or help. How can I help him understand we are on the same team?
A: Research shows that over eighty percent of older adults who could be receiving home care services have some amount of dementia. In this context, dementia is not a specific disease. Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. Since he sometimes thinks that you are his sister instead of his daughter and won’t admit that he needs help, then his memory and his judgment are impaired. There are many older adults with dementia that go untreated because the family members don’t realize that with a little medical attention, there can be significant improvements. First, tell them that you are worried that their medications are not working and that you want the doctor to check. Using the DEMENTIA mnemonic, you can help the medical professionals to screen and treat him.
D is for DRUGS. Is he on medications that are causing him to mistake you for his sister?
E is for EMOTIONS. Is he suffering from emotional conditions like depression? Depression and what may seem like the early stages of Alzheimer’s (the most common type of dementia) disease are almost identical. If he can be screened for depression and treated, his memory and judgement will improve.