Dementia is an increasing health issue in Canada. As our largest segment of the population, the baby boomers continue to age over the next few decades; this health issue will continue to magnify. Family members are the first line of support to dementia patients. Caring for a person that is mentally or physically impaired can be exhausting and stressful for a family member. Many of the family caregivers also have growing families to care for and/or a career. Family caregivers of dementia patients need help!
The Alzheimer's Society has defined dementia as an overall term for a set of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. If the symptoms are severe enough that they restrict the person’s ability to perform everyday activities, then the person is suffering from dementia. The symptoms include mood and/or behavioral changes; memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem solving abilities or language. The symptoms will gradually get worse as more brain cells become damaged and die. Dementia is progressive.
Dementia is not a disease in itself; dementia is caused by other diseases. The most common diseases that cause dementia are Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia (due to strokes). “Some of the other causes of dementia include Lewy Body disease, head trauma, fronto-temporal dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. These conditions can have similar and overlapping symptoms.”
The first wave of the baby boomers turned 65 in 2011.
Family caregivers need a break from caring for their family member with dementia. This is why Health Care Aide (HCA) personnel are increasingly in demand and will continue to be so for the next few decades. Providing even a few hours of care a day to a dementia patient will help the family caregiver maintain some of her/his normal activities. Thus, supplying them with the break they need to function normally while providing care for a loved family member.
If you are a caring person that enjoys working with people, the Health Care Aide program may be the start of a rewarding career for you! Visit ABM College to discuss the details of obtaining your Alberta HCA Certification.