Caring Currents

A New Friend in Your Dementia-Care Journey

Last updated:

January 19, 2010
365: 23 - 23.01.09
Image by Foxtongue used under the creative commons attribution license.

If you're caring for someone with Alzheimer's or another dementia, you need several categories of people at your disposal. Among them:

1) Someone to listen: A spouse, a best friend, a sibling "“- someone reliably receptive who you can call day or night when you need to vent is a must.

2) A doctor you trust: Especially early in the journey, you want a physician who can tell you what's normal and what's not, and who can help you make the hard choices that dementia diagnosis and care often involves. A geriatrician is usually the best choice if you can find one.

3) Family, friends, and neighbors: Where would any of us be without a circle of dear ones who can provide hands-on help?

4) Knowledgeable experts: Those with expertise can [answer questions] (, offer advice, guide you along the way. They're as near as [local resources] ( or as far flung as the Internet.

5) Caregivers who are treading the very same road. This category is critical. There's nothing quite so rewarding "“ so relieving "“ as gleaning what-works-for-me tips and hearing yes-I'm-stressed-but-determined, too, from those who know.

In this last (but by no means least!) category, I'd like to introduce a wonderful voice to you: Elizabeth Shean of the new ["Dad Has Dementia"] ( blog. Not only does Elizabeth's father have dementia, he just moved into her Southwestern home over the holidays. (And it starts with a bang: He was threatening to murder her mom.)

What's especially interesting about Elizabeth are the multiple lenses through which she experiences her situation: As a concerned daughter, as a nurse (her profession), as a wife, as the sibling who (with no kids at home and enough space) seemed like the logical one to take dad in.

Please join me in following her week-by-week journey "“ one that any of us touched by dementia can relate to, and learn from.