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Senior Woman Reading Book March 15, 2023

Families Find Support in the Memory Loss Community

By: Country Meadows | Memory Care

Caring for those who once cared for us is one of life’s highest honors. However, caregiving does come with challenges, especially when coping with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Thankfully, the memory loss community offers many opportunities to find services and support.

Many people find that caring for a loved one with dementia is an emotional journey that encompasses frustration, fear, depression, guilt and sometimes even joy, often all within the same day. And as a loved one’s health condition changes, so does the commitment and responsibility. Caregivers need to be flexible and willing to adjust expectations in order to provide the necessary support or find outside resources in the memory loss community.

People living with dementia experience memory impairment and a gradual decline in brain function. As symptoms continue to worsen, the senior may grow less able to live on their own. As a result, caregivers become the primary vehicle to help the individual maintain their lifestyle. This can prove frustrating, especially if the loved one will not consider a memory loss community.

According to a study published by Health Psychology Research, 78% of caregivers for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are family members who provide care due to love and a sense of responsibility.

The results of dementia can strain relationships between the senior and the caregiver as it becomes a struggle to manage family responsibilities while assisting their loved one living outside a memory loss community.

Primary caregivers for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia report poorer overall health compared to non-caregivers. Trying to navigate a loved one’s personality changes caused by dementia and resulting challenges can have negative health effects.

Psychological distress levels are significantly higher in memory loss caregivers than in other types of caregiving. This added stress can result in negative impacts on caregiver health including higher blood pressure, poor sleep and lowered immunity. Additionally, caregivers report feeling more isolated from their family while feeling increased worry for the patient and missing out on family events and milestones. Some caregivers may find it necessary to reduce working hours to provide care. In turn, this creates a financial burden.

Help is available

Caregivers and family members can benefit by learning about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Resources and support groups, both in-person and virtual, provide opportunities for caregivers to meet others in similar situations, share experiences and challenges in caregiving, solicit advice and express the frustrations associated with caring for an individual with memory loss.

Families need to understand what their loved ones are going through and how to add quality to their lives, but also how to cope with these changes. And, if families feel they can’t care for them on their own, this is understandable and acceptable. That’s when they may seek others in the memory loss community.

Country Meadows memory loss community

According to Joel Kroft, Executive Director of Memory Support Services at Country Meadows, “Being a caregiver to someone with dementia means having to periodically change expectations of what our loved one is capable of and comfortable doing. Everything from conversations to where couples can travel are areas of life that caregivers must rethink in order to provide the best care possible.”

And the effects of dementia on the family extend to all age groups. To help families understand and manage a loved one’s memory loss, Kroft and other memory loss community experts at Country Meadows created resources to help family members of all ages. This resource center also provides links to agencies and memory loss community experts on a number of dementia-related topics.

Country Meadows offers both secured and non-secured memory support options at all nine of our campuses in Pennsylvania and one in Frederick, Maryland. Please contact our team for more information about how we can support you or a loved one. Our co-workers are always available to help!

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