Local psychologist discusses why caregivers become the 'Silent Patient'

As the number of dementia patients increase, and Baby Boomers start to move into their 70s, there’s very little discussion about the evident toll on caregivers – the stress, frustration, depression, anxiety, financial loss, physical strain and loneliness that comes with caring for an aging loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.
There are 50 different types of dementia, each with multiple stages. The Caregiver Syndrome is a result of unrelieved constant caring for a person with dementia.  
“Caregiving for a loved one with dementia isn’t something you can go to school for or get a degree in,” said Paula Duren, PhD, founder of Universal Dementia Caregivers, a local nonprofit organization committed to providing support for caregivers. Duren cared for both of her parents for years as they steadily declined in memory and awareness from dementia. “Caregivers are the second silent patient because many are not taking care of themselves. Our job is to help them to be successful during the changes in care.”
Universal Dementia Caregivers will host a free lunch and learn discussion about the difficulty of changing roles and managing the stress of caring for a loved one with dementia. Caring for Caregivers: Your Health Matters Lunch & Learn will be held on March 8, 2018 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Triumph Church East Campus, 2760 Grand Blvd., Detroit.
Every month, Universal Dementia Caregivers offers training at different location around the metro Detroit area for caregivers, family and friends faced with the challenges of caring for a loved one with dementia. The discussions can range from handling troubling behavior, wandering, and repetitive speech or actions, paranoia, sleeplessness, and nutrition to the use of music and other techniques and therapy. Along with support, helpful information and access to resources, Universal Dementia Caregivers also makes recommendations on how to “age in place” successfully — providing care at home, which can help make the transition to the different stages easier.
“Caregiving is tough, but it’s tougher for someone giving care to someone with dementia,” said Duren. “This is a mind disease, a cancer of the brain. It’s progressive in nature and most caregivers don’t understand what’s required of them. We want all caregivers to be healthy, optimistic and supported.”
For more information, visit http://www.pauladuren.com/universal-dementia-blog/ or visit us on Facebook and Twitter.


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