CWA Caregivers’ Week 2017
“Caring for Caregivers”
Dr. Tan Hong Yee was invited to share his thoughts and expertise during this year’s CWA Caregivers’ Week on 5 Nov, Sunday. In this first keynote speech for the Symposium, Dr. Tan presented on “Dementia: Helping You and Your Loved Ones Plan Ahead”.
Briefly, Dr Tan provided an overview on what we know about dementia so far, and its treatment options. In particular, he discussed the various stages in the progression of dementia and what persons with dementia and their family can expect in terms of changes in their symptoms and daily function.
A prior knowledge of what to expect is important, so that patients and their families can monitor for changes over time, and also allow us to plan for the future. These tools that help many patients plan include the Lasting Power of Attorney, and also Advance Care Planning.
Caring for The Caregiver
In line with planning for physical changes and symptoms associated with dementia, one important point lies in recognizing and understanding the Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD). These can range from mood symptoms such as depression and anxiety, to even hallucinations and behaviors such as pacing around, repetition and hoarding. It is important to understand the person, rather than focus solely on symptoms and behavior. Very often, difficult behavior arises from unmet needs.
Nonetheless, BPSD can lead to poorer quality of life and increased caregiver stress. This part of the talk focused on causes and symptoms of caregiver burnout, and practical steps caregivers can do to help themselves prevent this.
Also, activities and communication techniques can very often help with BPSD. Therefore, Dr Tan Hong Yee dedicated this final segment to share pointers and his past experiences in using behavioural or non-medication approaches to managing BPSD. In particular, programs and interventions should never be a “one-size fits all” situation, and should be specifically tailored to each individual.
About the CWA
The Caregiving Welfare Association works to provide holistic care to the elderly and their caregivers. Apart from outreach and raising awareness, the CWA also organises many useful programs for the elderly. Please help to support their cause!
Stay tuned to our Facebook page to keep updated on upcoming events and talks to learn more.