Those who choose a career in Private Service have what is called a "service heart" - they are compassionate givers, unrelentingly providing the necessary care under all circumstances. They have a gift of intuition, desire, and the ability to anticipate needs. Whether it is a nanny caring for that screaming colicky infant or a companion caring for the elderly, the amount of patience and devotion required is at times more than even a family member can muster. Although both instances cause frustration, it seems more emotionally trying to be the one having to deal with an elderly family member who is slowly losing their mind.
There are symptoms to "dementia" that help us understand why suddenly our parents seem to be no longer acting themselves. Symptoms of dementia vary depending on the cause and the area of the brain that is affected. Memory loss is usually the earliest and most noticeable symptom. Other key symptoms of dementia include:
- Having difficulty recalling recent events.
- Not recognizing familiar people and places.
- Having trouble finding the right words to express thoughts or name objects.
- Having difficulty performing calculations.
- Having problems planning and carrying out tasks, such as balancing a checkbook, following a recipe, or writing a letter.
- Having trouble exercising judgment, such as knowing what to do in an emergency.
- Having difficulty controlling moods or behaviors. Depression is common, and agitation or aggression may occur.
- Not keeping up personal care such as grooming or bathing.
Some types of dementia cause key symptoms:
- People who have dementia with Lewy bodies often have highly detailed visual hallucinations. They may fall frequently.
- The first symptoms of frontotemporal dementia may be personality changes or unusual behavior. People with this condition may not express any caring for others, or they may say rude things, expose themselves, or make sexually explicit comments.
Symptoms of dementia that come on suddenly suggest vascular dementia or possibly delirium-short-term confusion caused by a new or worsening illness.
Bottom line is that losing the mind is a terrible thing. It is frightening to the victim alongside the family who endures the slow disconnect of their loved ones. As for the caregiver who is there every minute to ensure that the patient doesn't get hurt and lives a comfortable, quality existence, they deserve "service heart" medal.