WHY?

There’s several news articles making the rounds about seniors being abused or neglected by those who have been entrusted with their care.  These abusers have been both family members and staff at nursing/care facilities.

First of all, I will say that I find it incomprehensible that anyone would harm someone in their care.  I know there are times of frustration when dealing with dementia, I KNOW!  Take it from someone who has had to clean up smeared feces, answered the same question 500,000 times, been cussed out, been swung upon, kicked and heard a story more times than a toddler watching their favorite cartoon dvd.  For all of this, I KNOW this person isn’t doing it on purpose, they have a disease.  Do we blame a cancer patient for having a bald head?  Do we blame a child with chicken pox for itching?  No, this is a part of the journey.  This is part of the disease or treatment.

Whenever I hear the stories of elder abuse I feel angry on behalf of the person who has been abused, I feel for them because they often cannot defend themselves.  I try to educate to help understand dementia and preach patience.

I also fear that mainstream media will paint all caregivers with the same brush.  The vast majority of us are out doing a job that includes; long hours, low pay, hard work, taking care of messes that would have others vomiting, holding hands of lonely elders, loving people who aren’t related to us, all because we want to make a difference.  We do this because we care about our elders, it is important for us that they’re loved and safe.

I will be the first to admit that there’s rotten apples in the barrel.  Sometimes it’s a family member who feels that they’ve been forced into the position of caregiver and resents it.  Sometimes it’s a family member that thinks it’s a chance to get a hold of Grandma or Grandpa’s money.  Sometimes it’s someone who thinks it’s an easy to work at a nursing home and aren’t mentally prepared for the scope of the job.  Sometimes it’s a good person who’s just overworked by a facility that has no legal boundaries of how many residents they can pile on each caregiver.

However it happens, the only way to stop it is through education.

Each state has elder abuse hotlines.  Every person working in the medical field as well as police officers are mandatory reporters.  This means if we see abuse or suspect abuse we are required to report it.

At the same time, anyone can report potential abuse to your state’s hotline.

More community help for at-home caregivers could help alleviate caregiver stress.

More legislation requiring nursing/care facilities to lower their resident to caregiver ratios will allow for caregivers to have sufficient time to care and reduce their stress as well.  There is a huge number of compassionate, loving caregivers who burned out and left the field entirely because they were crushed by the amount of residents they were assigned each shift.

No one is perfect, nor is there a perfect world.  We all do the best we can.

For those who choose to abuse, neglect and harm our honored seniors, I have only this to say:

Be careful how you treat the weak, infirm and vulnerable – for one day you will be weak, infirm and vulnerable, and karma’s a bitch!

Advertisements

Special Deal!

I published my first book and I want to offer everyone a special deal!

I’m letting you who follow my blog have a free copy!

Until October 9th if you go to Smashwords and enter this code: RM52F (not case-sensitive).  You will receive a free copy of my book Who Are You? (Surviving Dementia from One Caregiver to Another)

Here’s the link to my book on Smashwords:

All I ask in return is that you leave an honest review and if you enjoyed it, let others know!

Excellent Plan by the D.O.T.

Just saw that my home state has decided to have Silver Alerts on highway D.O.T. electronic signs – this will be to alert motorists of missing, endangered dementia patients much like Amber Alerts do now.

I’m glad to see my home state taking this step to use existing resources to help dementia patients.

Here’s the news article regarding my home state implementing the Silver Alert program.  Click here.

Here’s a list of other states offering a similar program.  Click here.

A quick message to all you wonderful people who are reading my blog!

First of all:

 THANK YOU! 

It would help me greatly if anyone has any questions about being a caregiver for a family member, please feel free to write a comment and I will respond within 24 hours.  Just please understand that I won’t be able to give any medical advice as I’m not a doctor, but I may be able to help you find the right questions to ask your loved one’s doctor.

Please like and follow my blog, I’m hoping to cover a lot of information!

Scary Headlines

Elderly man/woman with Alzheimer’s reported missing, be on the lookout for this person who has wandered away from their home …

I always cringe when I see these headlines, I know the fear of having a loved one who has dementia and gets lost while taking a walk.  Shortly after my dad was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia he would decide to go for a walk at a moment’s notice.  We knew that if he did and we didn’t notice in time that he’d get lost.  I once spent a terrifying half-hour trying to convince him to return home with me.  My (then) 5-year old nephew once noticed Dad wandering away from Mom in a store and brought it to Mom’s attention.  Mom asked him to ask Grandpa to come back her way, which he did.  Once, when Dad was staying in an adult family home, he decided to go walking along a narrow rural route with a 50 MPH speed limit.

Quite often when a dementia patient wanders it is because they are, in their minds, heading for a specific destination – such as school, work, their parents’ house or a friends’ house.  What they are no longer able to process is that they may not be in the same town, state or country as their destination or the appropriate clothing to be wearing for the season.

It is challenging to keep an eye on a dementia patient 24/7, especially when they are otherwise physically fit.  My dad was in his early 50’s when he was diagnosed and still quite fit and strong.  This was the early 2000’s and at that time we discovered that our local sheriff’s office offered a watch-like device with a small radio transmitter that could be used to triangulate a location in case of a loved one wandering and getting lost.  We got one of these ‘watches’ for Dad and while we still kept a close eye out, we felt safer knowing we had taken this preventative step.

With smart phone and GPS technologies there are many new ways available today to find your loved one if they decide to go walkabout.  There are also bracelets and necklaces that can have contact information and condition alerts.

I would highly recommend taking a look at the tracking tools available and finding one that will work for you and your loved one.  The peace of mind that you will find is immense.

Here’s a partial list of some ways to keep track of your loved one:

http://www.projectlifesaver.org/

http://www.mindme.care/

http://www.gpsshoe.com/

http://www.gpssmartsole.com/

http://www.safelinkgps.com/

http://www.pocketfinder.com/

http://www.revolutionarytracker.com/

http://www.comfortzonecheckin.com/default.aspx

http://www.bluewatersecurityprofessionals.com/elderlytracking.htm

http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/Living-with-dementia/Day-to-day-living/Safety/Safely-Home