Seminar offers tips for Alzheimer’s caregivers

Jeff Davis Council on Aging provides information on resources of assistance

JENNINGS — Ken Daniel, 80, of Welsh celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary Thursday by learning how to care for his wife who suffers from Alzheimer’s.

“I am her primary caregiver and it makes you feel tired a lot of the time,” Daniel said. “I can still get out in the yard to do a few things, but most of the time I have to be close.”

“Sometimes she knows who I am, but other times she asks me if we’re married and she forgets about the kids and grandkids or she asks why we haven’t ate when we just had a big meal 45 minutes ago,” he continued. “It’s just hard to see her like that but we have our good days and our bad.

Daniel left his wife at the beauty shop to get her hair done while he attended an Alzheimer’s caregivers support group meeting at the Jeff Davis Council on Aging in Jennings.

“I need to learn more about where to get some help and what is available,” Daniel said.

He and his children have been dealing with the challenges of Alzheimer’s since his wife, a former school teacher, was diagnosed with the disease two years ago.

“I noticed the changes, but at first I thought we all get forgetful as we get older,” Daniel said.

His wife has loss interest in reading and television and now spends most of her days coloring.

“We find a lot of people are taking care of their husbands, wives, or other family members who have Alzheimer’s or dementia and they are looking for direction not knowing how to handle it or what resources are out there,” Jeff Davis Parish Council on Aging activity director Kim Benoit.

To help, the Council on Aging has been offering a series of educational programs to help caregivers understand and handle the challenges of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“It’s worth it if we can help just one family cope with it,” Benoit said.

Mitch Pellerin, account executive for Louisiana Hospice and Palliative Care, said it is important to cherish the memories shared with loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“Cherish those memories you do have because there will be other times when that person doesn’t know you, but know they are still your loved ones, they are just not showing it,” Pellerin said.

People with Alzheimer’s and dementia suffer short-term memory loss, he said.

“They can remember what they did 30 or 40 years ago, but not what they did yesterday and that’s hard for loved ones because they feel like they are losing them,” Pellerin said. “As a caretaker, it’s very hard.It can take its toll.”

“Dementia and Alzheimer’s is absolutely the worse diagnosis any family member has to go through with a loved one,” said Cyndi Green, regional marketing director for Compass Health. “Many times they become someone you don’t even recognize. You can have the meekest person and they become somebody completely different.”

It is also hard for caregivers to handle the frustration, agitation and anxiety many with Alzheimer’s and dementia exhibit.

“Most patients become very anxious and frustrated and that is frustrating for caregivers as well,” Green said.

Green said services are available locally including inpatient and outpatient programs which provide therapy to patients.

“There are different therapies available,” she said. “One does music because music has been found to be very smoothing and triggers memories. For others, maybe it’s simply recalling things or working with puzzles.”

Carlissa Tujague, patient care representative for Jeff Davis MD HomeCare, said more interaction and physical activity may help those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Local News

Texas man dies when Peterbilt crashes

Business

Business, industry thought leaders George Swift and Daniel Groft optimistic about future of SW La.

Informer

The Informer: Mowing pad being created for cable barrier along I-210

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:A busy November in 1966

Crime

Civil rights attorney: Charges in newspaper attack should have been upgraded to hate crime, attempted murder

Local News

Welsh High’s LEAP scores among top in state

life

A grave task: Helping hands clean up, beautify historic Bilbo Cemetery

life

VIDEO: Volunteer work day to beautify Bilbo Cemetery

Crime

8/13: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

life

Lake Charles’ Got Talent: Today’s event pairs local celebrities with Barbe Bluebelles

Local News

Tropical cyclone development remains low across western Gulf

Local News

Portion of La. in Lake Arthur renamed in honor of Fox

Local News

Unrestrained passenger killed in single-vehicle crash

Local News

La. abortion ban holds in court once again

Crime

UPDATE: Husband, wife both charged with molestation, cruelty

life

Classes back in session: Lake Charles Charter begins 12th year

Crime

UPDATE: Reward offered in Oakdale homicide

life

Gerald Sims: A neighborly neighbor that others can count on

Crime

One arrested, one sought in molestation case

Local News

Two Police Jury buildings closed due to water main break

Local News

La. continues to average 1,500-3,000 COVID cases daily

Crime

Nephew arrested after fight with uncle

Local News

Drink and Draw: CYPHACON social event allows ‘like-minded geeks’ to gather, have fun

Local News

Fort Polk name change could cost $1.4M