Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 30th 2013 Contents MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS
I know a few caregivers and at times
we d share moments about their
Alzheimer s patients predicament that are
extremely funny incidences. But, at times,
when a patient exhibits violent behaviour,
I become concern for my friends wellbe-
I remember my girlfriend s amusement
when at first her patient thought that she
was his wife. He d be sitting with his older
male friends and when she would bring
them some refreshments he d say, quite
delightfully, "You do remember my Brenda?"
And, of course, she was neither Brenda,
She d smile graciously and then he d say
to her, "Come sit with me for a while dear"
gesturing to the space next to him wherever
We all, including his family, found suf-
ficient basis for laughter in this. That was
on a good day.
Some months later, he began expressing
his desire to go to his house and that routine
has continued now for a while.
Each time he insists that he s not at his
home, his family and caregiver would have
to take time out to remind him of his sur-
roundings using familiar references. That
would also include opening the front door
to show him neighbours homes, since he
has lived at his current address for a con-
siderable amount of time.
It takes varying amounts of time and
effort to convince him each time that in
fact he is at his home.
Another friend tells of her time as a care-
giver to a patient who after a life of impec-
cable hygiene decided he did not have to
bathe and "no one could come in (his) house
and tell (him) differently, nor force (him) to
It made no difference to him that he had
spilled urine out his adult pull-ups and onto
his bed and that having stayed in bed until
well past sun-up he smelled odourous.
There was no care about his offensive
body odour and the fact that everywhere
he sat had to be cleaned and cleansed to
become habitable once again.
As far as he was concerned, he was not
going to bathe and no one would dare make
him. This confrontation got increasingly
difficult for his caregiver because she felt
at one point, while she was coaxing and
sternly admonishing him that he was in fact
going to hit her.
She took precaution and called in an adult
male relative to get him into the bathroom
where he showered still putting up a strug-
gle.Then he changed into his day clothes and
spent a very sedate morning remaining vis-
ibly offended by the goings-on as he said
"in (his) own house."
Communicating with an Alzheimer or
dementia patient is one of the most frus-
trating parts of caring for them. (And, as
a matter of clarification, dementia is a symp-
tom, and Alzheimer s disease is the cause
of the symptom. Dementia is not a disease;
it is the clinical presentation or symptoms
of the disease www.alz.org).
If your caregiver is not a family member
nor has been involved sufficiently in or with
the family history then they must be given
appropriate ammunition to bring the
AD/dementia patient to a calm acceptance
of the current circumstances when the
patient is clearly out of depth.
One individual who had two parents in
their 80s, both with AD and dementia, sug-
gested making albums or memory books to
point each parent back to their beginnings
and the evolution of their life.
This should be done in such a way as to
point the family member to all the important
moments in their lives: Images of them with
their parents, their children, grandchildren
and great grandchildren; photos of wedding
days, births and christenings; announce-
ments of the death of loved ones; pictures
of the schools they attended, the university
campuses at which they studied, indeed,
all milestones that may jolt some familiar-
ity.At ageingcare.com I came upon some
advice for caregivers from which I ve extract-
ed two points.
Don t judge your caregiving skills by the
response of your care receiver. People with
dementia are going to have bad days. If you
are educating yourself on how to cope with
negative behaviour, and asking for help when
you need it, you are likely doing fine. Try
to remember a good day when your care
receiver seemed to find some enjoyment
and see if you can replicate that to some
Detachment is vital for our mental health.
We need to detach from our care receiver
enough to keep our own sense of self and
not allow their needs to define our whole
lives. If we have a controlling, cranky elder
we cannot please, we can t let their behav-
iour saturate our sense of self to the point
that we feel we are failures
Dementia has to be overwhelming for
caregivers and it is reasonable to expect that
caregivers too, should have access to mental
health counselling or support from profes-
sionals in order to cope while giving appro-
The Embassy of the Republic of Korea will
host its second Korea Film Week under the
patronage of the Korea Foundation and in coop-
eration with MovieTowne. Building on the success
of last year s film week, the embassy is once
again bringing the T&T audience another oppor-
tunity to experience Korean culture.
This year s film week will be held from October
31 to November 3 at Movietowne, Port-of-Spain,
a release from the Korean Embassy said. Four films
will be screened, all of which were a huge success
in Korea with themes of love, friendship, sports-
manship and family values.
The opening film Late Blossom is a heart-warm-
ing love story of two elderly couples. This film is
based on a famous original Korean cartoon entitled
I Love You by Kang Full.
In the past 20 years, the Korean film industry
has been rapidly developing. Korea is now one of
the few countries in the world of which the locally
made films enjoy over 50 per cent market share
in the domestic film market.
The Embassy hopes that this film week event
will help to promote the cultural exchange and
mutual understanding between the people of Korea
and T&T, further contributing to the friendly and
cooperative relations between the two countries
in the future.
Admission to the films is free and on a first-
come, first-served basis. Tickets can be collected
at the Movietowne s box office three days in
advance of each film. However, tickets are limited,
as only 130 seats are available for each screening.
For more information please contact Movietowne
Box office or the Korean Embassy. Interested film
fans can also visit the Facebook page: Kore-
afilmweek2013 or email email@example.com
Dementia caregivers need care, too
friendship from Korea
A scene from Late Blossom, the film that opens
the second Korea Film Week at MovieTowne,
Port-of-Spain on Wednesday evening.
All movies are
CAROLINE C RAVELLO
Don't judge your caregiving skills by
the response of your care receiver.
People with dementia are going to
have bad days. If you are educating
yourself on how to cope with
negative behaviour, and asking for
help when you need it, you are likely
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, October 30, 2013
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