Sep 1, 2016 by Lulu Jensen
Whether you are caring for your parent yourself or have hired caregivers for palliative care, the emotions and anxiety of watching a loved one go through this process are difficult. It is even more challenging when your parent is experiencing dementia; often it's hard to know if they are in pain or having discomfort. As your parent slowly goes through the decline into an altered mind state, the warning signs may be overlooked. One day you may be caught like a deer in the headlights. In addition to your parent’s other medical issues, you are now facing difficulty communicating and the situation can become too overwhelming for you alone.
Palliative care providers often are an excellent source of comfort for both families and the clients suffering with an illness. The palliative caregiver is trained to provide for the comfort of the client, i.e. mom or dad. This caregiver is gentle in communicating with your mother or father and helping identify their pain as well as their new mindset. The new normal of your mom or dad may appear to be a storybook fantasy to you, but for your parent, it is as real as day and night.
Because dementia alters the brain and the thinking process, your mother or father may have forgotten sensations like pain or they may be very sensitive to pain. Making palliative care part of their health and life maintenance plan will enable knowledgeable care providers to support your mom or dad on the next stage of their journey through life.
For many family members, caring for a loved one with dementia alone can be stressful. It's hard to watch someone you love change into someone that may not recognize you or accept your attempts to keep them well and comfortable. Adding another illness or medical issue into the picture introduces another layer of stress and anxiety that may not make family involvement in care possible. However, palliative care provides you and your parent the ability to allow others to attend to their medical needs while you spend important quality time with your loved one while you are able.