Stigma is a word that means assigning shame to something. Family caregivers to older adults who have dementia may face stigma because of their family member’s condition. At first, when dementia was mild, friends and family may rally around the caregiver and senior. But, as time goes on and the disease progresses, people start to drop away, and the senior is no longer included in gatherings.
This can lead both to feel lonely and frustrated. Dementia stigma happens primarily because of fear. Fear of not understanding the disease, fear of not knowing how to interact with the older adult, and fear that dementia may be in their own future.
Caregivers may be able to overcome stigma or at least find ways to come to terms with it using these tips.
Sometimes knowledge can help people overcome their fears. Talk to people about dementia and how it affects your aging relative. Explain to them how they can best communicate with the senior. If they aren’t sure what to say, give them some ideas. Remind them that the older adult still has emotional needs for companionship, affection, and social interaction. Encourage them to ask questions about the disease and help them to find the answers.
Don’t Take It Personally
It’s normal for caregivers to be angry when other people avoid or ignore them. However, try to see dementia stigma for what it is. People probably aren’t staying away out of a malicious desire to hurt you or the older adult. And, while it isn’t okay to ignore you or the older adult, they’re probably just not emotionally equipped to handle the situation. Try to forgive their flaw.
Build a Network
You may not be able to do anything about the people who fall away, but you can work on building a stronger network with those who stay and are willing to help. Consider joining a support group where you can meet other dementia caregivers. Make an effort to keep up your relationships with friends and family who are supportive of your role as a caregiver.
Avoid Perpetuating Shame Yourself
People with dementia often do things that could be embarrassing in public. That could make you want to shelter them and yourself from the reactions of others. However, when you do that, you are isolating yourself and the older adult. In addition, you are supporting the idea that a senior with dementia is something to be ashamed of or feared. Don’t let dementia keep you from taking the senior on outings or having visitors come to the house.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elderly Care in Westfield, IN, please call the caring staff at Home Services Unlimited. Serving Greater Indianapolis Area. Call for Immediate Info & Assistance: (317) 471-0760
As a practicing Registered Nurse, Etelka was keenly aware of a void in quality patient care that could be provided in the home. She embarked upon a journey to develop a home health care agency that would exceed all expectations and become a trusted partner to physicians and patients.
A Distinguished Career From Nurse to Director of Nursing to President of Home Services Unlimited
Etelka’s distinguished career followed a logical progression to her position as President of Home Services Unlimited. She graduated as a nurse practitioner with a Bachelor of Nursing (RN) in 1972 from Meshgorya University in the Ukraine, close to where she lived with her family. She married her husband Phil in 1973 and decided in 1977 that they would relocate to the United States to be closer to family and to come to this land of opportunity. With an eagerness to continue her budding career, Etelka sat for and passed her Boards in the U.S. in 1979.
A Love and Talent for Working with the Elderly
Etelka began her nursing career in the U.S. at Colonial Crest, now part of Golden Living, where she was the In-service Coordinator, the Director of Training and Education and Director of Nursing, a position she occupied for several years.
With a group of partners, she co-founded Adept Corporation, which operated group homes for the mentally challenged. The business was successful and in 1996, Etelka sold her share to return to her roots, caring for the elderly.
In January of 1997, Etelka opened Home Services Unlimited as a fully licensed business to provide home health care. In her quest to learn to do better for her patients, she had already obtained a Masters in Healthcare Administration (MHA) in May of 1990 from the College of St. Francis. As President of Home Services Unlimited, Inc., Etelka guides the trusted, experienced care model Home Services Unlimited uses to continue providing excellent home health care.
Giving Back to the Community of Indianapolis
Volunteering for community services is a high priority for Etelka. Her memberships include the Indiana Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, Executive Women in Health Care and the Indiana Association for Home and Hospice Care, where she is a member of the Board of Directors.
Etelka has also served on the Board of Directors with Hooverwood Home, a highly regarded geriatric facility, since 1997 and as the President for 2005-2006. Through her community work, she has received several awards and accolades, including the Nora McFarland award in 2002, from the Indiana Association of Home and Hospice Care.
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