I feel like there is so much I don't know about caring for my husband with dementia. Does anyone have advice?

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I need know where to go in the Richmond, VA area to get help/support in caring for my husband with Dementia. There's so much I don't know.

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My husband has early onset alzheimer's. It is not easy. but do look for help with nursing facilities for respite to give yourself some time off. We have 21 and 16 year old kids. So I know how difficult it can be and then some. The only advice I can give is do NOT let it overtake YOU as YOU are also important...for your family but mainly for yourself!
My heart is with you!
Therese
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brunswickdove, All I can say is grab your bootstraps and hold on, you are in for a long bumpy ride...and PLEASE, don't forget to take time alone time, where you can "de-stress" .
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brunswickdove,
Hi. You need to do as much research, ask tons of questions, and find support groups to help you. Find out what dementia category your husband fall under.
Dementia is a broad term of memory loss, it can be Alzheimer's, brain damage (tumors, strokes, injury), Parkinson's, Huntingtons, etc...
Dementia is loss of mental abilities that causes problems with daily activities, it is not a specific disease. Causes of dementia is reaction to medication, painful emotions, vision problems, difficulty hearing nutritional deficiencies, infections, tumors, harding of the arteries, short term memory loss, inability to think problems through, confusion, difficulty concentrating, changes in personality are reversible.
Alzheimer's is continuous shrinking of brain tissue, problems with memory, thinking, reasoning and judgement skills, changes in behavior and personality, family history, recent memory loss that affects job or home life performance, difficulty performing familiar task, problem with language, problems with time and place, wandering, misplacing things, poor judgement, the damage is not reversible.
Early stages: trouble remember events and conversation, poor judgements, disorientation in familiar surrounding, withdrawal from social situation.
Middle stages: more difficulties in behaviors, anger, suspicion, paranoia, wandering, violent behaviors, hallucinations, loss of all time and places, increase need of personal care, may not recognize family and friends.
Late stages: inability to communicate, loss of ability to walk, inability to recognize people, places, and objects, weight loss due to inability to swallow, loses control of bladder and bowels.
I care for my 86 yr old mom with "Dementia" 24/7, as stated by her doctor. Doing the research, I found she had classic middle/late stages Alzheimer's. I'm sorry to overwhelm you, but I wished someone told me what I was in or at least given the heads up on what to look for. Individuals with Alzheimer's become a two year old child who weighs over 90 lbs., without the ability to learn, and continue to regress.
Please find a "Senior Day Care" in your area, "Assisted Living" or "Board and Care" specializing in Alzheimer/Dementia memory care when you need respite. You can leave your love one at Senior Day care for a couple to several hours during the day as many days as needed just to get rest and time for yourself. "Assisted Living" or "Board and Care" are great when you have one no else to help you care for your love one when you need respite care for over a week, need to take a vacation or going on a business trip. Find out the requirements needed for placement-Doctors evaluation, TB test, home visit evaluation, etc...
Support groups are great, find one in your area or keep posting, you will learn a lot from caring individuals going through the same problems. Keep your interest up as crafts, reading, exercise, gardening, etc.. it really helps you through tough times. Always take time for yourself.
Take care, and best wishes.
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Hi- I was in the same situation when my Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's...I soon went to my local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association-and began taking reading material they had to offer, I had several talks with them, and decided to join a support group, that they offered, to learn about how other's coped with the situation.
Althought there is NO cure for Alzheimer's...the next best thing one can do about it is to become eduated on it. What you might expect down the road, and how to address different obsticles you may be confronted with.
Last of all-and very important-do not forget about your own personall well being. as it can be easy to let it slide. They even offer a 24/7 hotline and the number is (800)-272-3900. A very good website I woild recommed is "the Alzheimer's Spouce" after you read the stories-there is a board to coment to or even ask questions-as you have done here-
Good luck in your caregiving journey-and please keep in mind there are others in the forum who do care what happens--so YOU ARE NOT ALONE~
Hap
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And don't forget to keep coming back here. When I couldn't get to support groups, this board gave me and still gives me the support I so desperately need. Good luck.
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One thing you realize is that you need to learn about dementia. That is a great start. Here is a couple of websites that may help.

http://www.afamembers.org/general-results.php?process=basic_search&state=CA
http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_4719.asp
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DOVE:

Don't want to sound cliche-ish, but the more you know about this condition the better prepared you'll be to handle situations that'll probably escalate as time goes by. Support groups, as Marianette suggested, are key to your own mental balance because there will be times when patience becomes a luxury and burnout is just around the corner. Support groups help you build community and safety nets; plus, one of the best ways to forget about your problems is to listen to someone else's.

Dove, this is one of those situations that require listening to your heart when you're flying on a wing and a prayer. For now, hold your husband's hand, look into his eyes and try to see past the fear, helplessness, and confusion he can't do much about. You'll see a constellation of happy memories that will remind you how much you still love him. You will also see that surrender is not an option.

Try to find as many ways you can to tap that inner extra strength you never thought you had and begin healing from within. It's not easy to do when you're running on fumes most of the time, but I don't doubt for a second you will.

Here's a big hug from NYC, and stay strong!

-- ED
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Please look over this list which contains several caregivers
support groups in the Richmond area. They would be familiar with many conditions and knowledgeable about resources for you.

http://www.vbcf.org/RichmondAreaSupportGroups.pdf
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