Each year, an estimated two million Americans suffer some form of traumatic brain injury (TBI); this averages out to about one every 15 seconds. Approximately 5.3 million Americans are living with disabilitieshat have resulted from a TBI.
Several years ago, I received one myself. When a culprit attempted to rob a bookstore I’ve owned for 25 years, I resisted. The perpetrator then decided it would be a good idea to slam a metal pipe down upon my head, cracking my skull even as I threw him out the front doors.
Caring for my mom now in the end stage of vascular dementia, I have learned that when I walk into the room, I need to start talking as soon as she has visual contact with me. I can see in her eyes and facial expression that she truly doesn’t recognize me. She does however know my voice.
Another lesson that I have learned is that I must keep my beard trimmed short. Once it starts getting long, it gets extremely grey and I start resembling a man by the name of Saint Nick and my mother truly has no idea of who I am.
After everything you as a caregiver have endured, in the end the reality is that life goes on. Your days will without a doubt roll into nights. The Earth will still revolve around our Sun in a year’s time. None of this will stop; it just may feel like it.
Throughout my years of educating caregivers on dementia care, I’ve constantly stressed how important it is that caregivers understand the difference between a delusion and a hallucination. Caregivers need to be able to correctly describe what the patient is experiencing, to his or her physician. The reason being: we don’t want our healthcare professionals to start throwing heavy dosages of medications at them when our loved ones are only delusional.
One of the jobs that every caregiver will have to perform is the daily dispensing of medications. Dealing with all the new drugs in today’s world, this task can become extremely confusing. In a twenty-four-hour period, one may have to administer medications as much as four or five times, possibly more in some cases.
Okay. You’re starting to show signs of dementia. Has your primary physician ordered a complete blood work-up to see if you may be vitamin B deficient? I believe every doctor needs to start any dementia diagnosis right there. Unfortunately, this is something that many of us––including our doctors—rarely think about. It’s too common for medical professionals to jump to a diagnosis of a dementia-related disease such as Alzheimer’s.
I will always have, this one special Christmas throughout my childhood that I will never be able to forget. That year’s joyous holiday season started getting intense, a couple of weeks’ prior of the “BIG” day. My older brother (God rest his soul) brought in this present, (with my name on it mind you), that was so large, so gigantic, he had to bring it in through the double glass sliding doors.