By Eileen Shamy
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Additional resources for A Guide to the Spiritual Dimension of Care for People With Alzheimer s Disease and Related Dementia: More Than Body, Brain, and Breath
Looking back I can now see that my mother knew something terrible was happening to her and for a long time worked very hard and successfully at covering up. I am sure that my dad helped her in this. It is not often recognised how hard it can be for families when members in such a situation begin their grieving at different times. When Alzheimer’s disease was eventually diagnosed we had very little understanding of what to expect and where to find information and support. Fortunately these are now available to care givers and families through the Alzheimer’s Society, which was founded in New Zealand in 1985 (and has long existed in the UK).
52 THE SPIRITUAL DIMENSION OF CARE FOR PEOPLE WITH ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE… The confusional stage (mild to moderate dementia) This stage is generally the longest and, according to some sources, may continue from two to ten years. It is characterised by increased memory loss and confusion. Families may be astonished, hurt and dismayed when their relative complains or upbraids them fiercely for never visiting when in fact they may have visited the previous day or even just a few hours previously. Gradually disorientation to time and place becomes more and more disabling so that the person may get lost in his or her own home or garden, not know the name of the day or the morning from late afternoon, and forget the names of people he feels he knows.
It is unlikely that his task would have been any easier or more effective if he had been given a history or architectural treatise. This chapter is written primarily for clergy, family and nursing home care givers, seminary and ministry students, church leaders, lay preachers, lay pastoral visitors and accredited volunteer visitors who work with people with a dementia illness. It begins with a short overview, designed to give the reader some key information in an easily digested form. This is followed by a more detailed description of Alzheimer’s disease and some of the common types of primary dementia.
A Guide to the Spiritual Dimension of Care for People With Alzheimer s Disease and Related Dementia: More Than Body, Brain, and Breath by Eileen Shamy