When a person begins to manifest symptoms of some type of dementia (Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Pick's disease, Lewy bodies, vascular dementia ...) not only changes her life, but that of all the people in her environment, especially those who live with her. In the early stages of the disease, the affected can continue to have autonomy adapting certain actions to their abilities, but as the dementia progresses, it will increasingly need the help of a caregiver, which usually is the couple, parents or children of the affected .
The caregiver, in addition to the daily functions that he must perform to help him, lives with the emotional pressure that supposes to see how the brain of his loved one is progressively extinguished, and with it the memories and the emotional ties that united them.
The physical and psychological burden they endure is so great that they run the risk of developing mental disorders or diseases. These are the main effects suffered by the caregiver of a person with dementia:
- Effects on their behavior: fatigue and stress can lead to negative emotional states related to anxiety, irritation, manias, guilt, and so on.
- Psychosomatic effects: the tension with which one lives is manifested in the organism of the caretaker, resulting in problems of insomnia, anorexia nervosa or alopecia, among others.
- Clinical problems: the vulnerability of the health of those who care for a person with dementia increases the risk of developing pathologies that they would not otherwise have suffered, such as cardiovascular diseases, infections, diabetes or depression.
- Behavior problemsWhen the situation surpasses the caregiver, it can accumulate a tension that, in turn, provokes negative behaviors that cause isolation, loss of friendships, and even the rupture of the couple's relationship.
Although it is not easy to avoid any of these problems, the caregiver should try to take care of his family member as a positive help that allows him to be closer to him, and with which he is increasing his quality of life, and not as a job that must be done perfectly and as an obligation.