Dementia is progressive, and it destroys mental function. When it is a family member or loved one undergoing these changes, the process can be very painful to watch. This can cause feelings of helplessness and mental trauma, and even irrational guilt. There are many reports of caregivers for dementia patients suffering from severe depression as a consequence of watching the progression of the disease (Eisdorfer et al. Caring for an individual with dementia exerts significant mental and emotional pressure on those responsible for them. The role reversal is often of particular difficulty(Boss 445-450). Possibly the worst of these problems is that dementia patients often begin to behave quite childishly as the disease progresses, being not just ungrateful, but often positively hateful. Knowing that they do not mean it, and are not responsible for this hurtful behavior does not really prevent the pain it causes. Sometimes an angry reaction in return will even promote horrible guilt feelings in the caregiver. Over the long term, the patient may lose the ability do even the simple hygiene tasks of bathing and brushing and may need help with toileting. When the patient no longer even recognizes their loved ones and behaves in ways dangerous to themselves and others (Nigg et al. 473-482), it is time to reassess the viability of home care.How does one determine what to choose when taking care of a family member with dementia? First, get a competent professional to assess cognitive functioning of your loved one. Using tests for functionality, (Mack and Patterson ; Mattis, Jurica and Leitten ) (Polanski and Hinkle 357), this same professional can advise you objectively, based upon the patient’s need and history. Placing a mother, a father, or any. Choosing the Best Road in the Face of Dementia.
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