Effects of Dementia on Family and Caregivers

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According to the case study, a lady named Mary is diagnosed with dementia and she couldn’t look after herself and her daughter responsibilities towards her mother are become less valuable. As her daughter has their own family and she can’t take care of her mother in a proper way which put impact on her relationship with her mother. Meanwhile, Sandra took her mother to the rest home which also has effect on their relationship.  Similar, Mary’s relationship with her daughter was changing as her behaviour became more unpredictable.


– Family who taking care of a person living with dementia may find that their roles have been changed which they are previously played in their family. Moreover, they are suffering from social isolation as they have to give priority to looking after a person living with dementia. Meanwhile, people spent their lives in one role therefore; they loss their interests, personal freedom, upcoming plans and socialising with their friends and relatives. Along with this, most of the people lead to feeling of confusion, anxious and apathy due to changes in role. Similar, changes of role have detrimental impact on changes in family relationship. Further, individuals who taking cares of a person living with dementia has more responsibilities as they have to made more decisions and adjusts roles towards that particular person. The person gives priorities their caring responsibilities instead of their own personal time. Furthermore, they have to attend educational courses and seminars and learn more information about dementia to support a person living with dementia.


While taking care of a person living with dementia, financial strain put bad impacts on the family. In addition to this, as taking care of a person living with dementia leads less work opportunities and income which also caused to more financial expenses. For instance, the person living with dementia needs proper diet, medical treatments, diapers, care products, equipments and transportation for regular checkups which are expensive. For instance, if a person living with dementia lives in a residential facility than it is more difficult for the family to pay the expenses to the organisation which leads to financial strain. (Careerforce Library, 2015)


    – Taking caring a person living with dementia have negative impacts on caregivers. Moreover, health care assistants of people living with dementia experience stress overload, strain, physical problems, social isolation and psychological illness such as clinical depression which are as following:


– According to the case study, Logan the Mary’s caregiver suffering from stress overload as he has always follow the rules, stay on schedule and focus on tasks. Along with this, he has 11 residents to be toileted, washed, feeding, put in bed and finished documentation on time which is very stressful for her. Meanwhile, this could be lead to loss in relationships and social isolation, decreased quality of life and health issues also. Coping with aggressive and violent behaviour was frequently difficult, both physically and psychologically, and often leads to stress for Logan. In addition to this, changes in the behaviour and personality of the person with dementia also caused to stress and frustration.


– Caring a person living with dementia have impact on caregiver’s physical health condition such as negative physiological health consequences. For instance, stresses and strains of caring may result in impaired immunity, high levels of stress hormones, hypertension and an increased risk of cardio-vascular disease.  Meanwhile, it is an essential to knowing the mental and physical health impacts of caring for someone with dementia are influenced by a number of factors, such as carer age, previous health, and personality, type of the dementia and the availability of social support. The behavioural symptoms of dementia such as aggression, wandering, hallucinations are also closely related to greater impact of caring due to the need for increased support. They were exhausted as a result of sleep deprivation, carrying out all of the household chores, extra cleaning and laundry as well as moving or lifting their clients. (Alzheimer’s Association, n.d)


– Caregivers always have been follow the policies and procedures of the organisation, stay on schedule, focus on tasks and reporting client’s situations and documentation which leads to time management problems. Along with this, they have to provide assistance to clients with everyday activities such as bathing and dressing and having less time for their family. As maintaining an active life through leisure and social activities is related to increased well-being, a reduction in these activities can be seen as a further negative impact of the caring role. (Alzheimer’s Australia, 2015)


Coping strategies are strategies that can be used to manage the effects experienced by family and health care workers to supporting people living with dementia. Moreover, these strategies planned as a support tool for family/whanau and the support workers. The majority of people exposed to stress when they feel loneliness and unsupported and cannot manage the person’s demanding or abnormal behaviour patterns. Minimising the stress for the family/whānau or caregivers supports them to be able to care for the individual and helps maintain their health and wellbeing.



Using accessible support services while caring people living with dementia will be helpful for both family/whanau and caregivers.

According to the case study, sharing the load is the most effective strategy used by Sandra to take care of her mother. Moreover, as she took her mother to the rest home as her mother diagnosed with dementia and she have no proper knowledge of this disorder. So, it is helpful for her to take care of her in the rest room mother with the approach of caregiver and person-centred care in order to improve her mother’s condition. Therefore; asking for help to share the load and accepting help are valuable ways of minimising stress levels such as tiredness and embarrassment about any unusual behaviour by a person living with dementia. Meanwhile, Sandra sharing the load with Logan and says that her mother improvement has been surprising as she surrounded by friends and living her life in a appropriate way which give pleasure to her.



– Self-advocacy is making a knowledgeable conclusion about an issue of importance and then taking responsibility to make that alternative realism. Moreover, the Health and Disability Commission provides several national advocacy services to support people with their rights. Along with this, self-advocacy is an approach which useful for the healthcare workers when they feel uncomfortable about the particular situation and where they are feeling a supportive environment and discuss their problems freely and ask for helps if they needed.

According to the case study, self-advocacy coping mechanism used by Logan which is helpful or useful for him to taking care of people living with dementia. As he involved himself in the local Dementia Advocacy service to help improve the lives of people living with dementia and minimise the stress of their families. Therefore; he interested to learn and share his experience with families to make a difference to feel more in control.


There are other numerous coping strategies that could be use to manage the effects of providing care for a person living with dementia by family/whanau and health care assistants. Moreover, while working as caregiver, I will take time out and being informed to manage the effects of providing care to a person living with dementia which are as following:


– Health care workers who taking care of people living with dementia has several types of physical and mental problems. Therefore; it is an important that the caregiver who is providing care and support taking time out from the stable demands of assisting the person living with dementia. Sometimes family/whanau and friends, day care programmes and respite care are helpful for the caregivers for decreasing their stress levels.

While working a health care worker, I will take sufficient teas and meal breaks provided by the organisation in the workplace in order to relaxation my body and mind which help me towards letting off steam. In addition to this, I also enjoy my annual leave regularly in which I will spend time with my family and have outings with them which are helpful for me to manage stress and frustration. Meanwhile, I will take advice from my senior caregivers or from other workers if i needed any kind of information.


– When family/whanau be aware of how dementia affects the person they are supporting, this can help to decrease stress levels. Moreover, without knowing about any particular disorder, it is very difficult to handle and caring the person.  Therefore; individuals be aware of support groups and learn new strategies to cope with the unusual behavior of people living with dementia.

Along with this, Alzheimer’s NZ and Aged Concern services provide and organize several seminars and education programmes to aware the people who take care a person living with dementia so I will be informed me about these services and take part in these seminars and programmes in order to provide appropriate care to the clients. Similar, government offer range of services to the family members of people living with dementia such as residential care facilities, home based services, day care programmes which are useful for people to minimize their anger and frustration. Therefore; family members should have knowledge and awareness of these services in order to provide quality of people to people living with dementia. (Mayo Clinic, 2018)


There are numerous support services available for family/whānau and support workers to providing care for people living with dementia. Moreover, doctors and social service agencies can provide the latest and consistent information on dementia care and several other support services such as respite care, day programmes and home care services are available.

Moreover, there are some advocacy services for the health care workers of people living with dementia which are as following:


    – The main aim of the Alzheimer’s New Zealand is to provide services, education and reliable information for people living with dementia to their support workers and health care professionals throughout New Zealand. Moreover, it is provide national advocacy for individuals living with dementia and their support workers to increase government awareness regarding their requirements and understanding as well as enhancing their knowledge about dementia.

Meanwhile, the associate organisations of Alzheimer’s New Zealand provide some of the following services:

  • Support community-based awareness meetings for caregivers of people living with dementia.
  • Provide appropriate information and education to their health care workers in order to support clients with understanding, management and treatment.
  • Provide information regarding organisational policies and procedures, health and safety training, dementia care and appropriate documentation in the workplace through team meetings and staff education programmes.
  • Employee assistance programmes offer services to raises caregivers knowledge about how to provide confidential, independent support to people living with dementia in the workplace.  (Alzheimer’s New Zealand, n.d)

Moreover, to access support from the Alzheimer’s New Zealand in your local area, please call 0800 004 001 and visit the Alzheimer’s New Zealand website at www.alzheimers.org.nz.


    Age Concern plays a significant role in the lives of people living with dementia. Moreover, it provides services to the older people  by national services such as information and guidance by health and welfare awareness programmes. Meanwhile, Age Concern coordinates and supports fundamental services those are accessible for the individuals at the local level such as avoidance of elder abuse and ignored and official visiting. Along with this, it also offering administration policy and national initiatives, increases public understanding and provides public leadership to local Age Concern branches and performing as a source of information. In addition to this, people feel feeling alone and social isolation therefore;  Age Concern’s Accredited Visiting Service provides assistance to them in order to improve their quality of life.

Furthermore, it also works to increase public awareness for people who are caring people living with dementia about elder abuse and promotes methods of preventing abuse by various resources such as by pamphlets and publications.

In addition to this, to getting support from Age Concern NZ contact them on Phone No. 04 801 9338 and Email:


and also visit the Age Concern website at www.ageconcern.org.nz. (Age Concern – He Manaaakitanga Kaumatuaa, n.d)


    These organisations provide workplace support to the support workers through their workplace team meetings which offer services as following:
  • Conversation and problem solving with their supervisor and team leader
  • Information on the roles and responsibilities of healthcare professionals towards their clients
  • Current information about the person living with dementia
  • Proper education in the workplace through training providers (New Zealand History, 2015-2018)

If you required any assistance at your workplace, please call Member Support Centre on 0800 28 38 48 or email



There are several advocacy services for the family of people living with dementia which are as following:


    Residential care facilities provide safe environment and high-quality care for people living with dementia which support their family members. Meanwhile, these facilities and health care organisations provide suitable care to the person’s safety requirements and care needs in several places such as rest homes, where they are supervised by registered nurses and health care staff who are competent to support residents with their activities of daily living. Along with this, registered nurses are on 24-hour duty in dementia care units for people living with dementia care needs in order to provide long-term care to them and supporting to their families. (Ministry of Health – Manatu Hauora, 2018)

Along with this, the first step is to getting access is to involve Needs Assessment and Service Coordination through your local District Health Board.


    – Home-based services are provide services according to a person’s requirements recognized during consideration of the person’s capabilities and needs. Moreover, community-based agencies offering services to support people living with dementia to remain their living in their own houses. Similar, these services provided into two ways such as directly or indirectly. As directly services such as personal care and indirectly by providing the carer to support them in their daily activities in order to improve their standard of living. In addition to this, home-based services available depend on the region, the population profile and whether the person has been assessed as eligible for a publicly funded service. (Ministry of Health – Manatu Hauora, 2018)

Meanwhile, to getting home-based and community based services, you’ll need to contact a Needs Assessment and Service Coordination organisation.


    – The main purpose of the Health and Disability Commissioner’s is to protecting and promoting the rights of people who access health and disability services in order to improving the quality of health and disability services. Moreover, The Health and Disability Commissioner provide supplies for the rights of families, healthcare workers, healthcare professionals through health or disability services. These services assist support workers and families of people living with dementia to be informed, knowledgeable and increased awareness of the issues involved in supporting people living with dementia.

Moreover, The Office of the Commissioner provides a free complaints services to examine and resolve complaints made by health and disability services. Also, the Commissioner provides support services to assist people in their choices and with their rights. (New Zealand Legislation, 2004)

The contact details for Health and Disability Commissioner are as following:

Auckland Office

Phone no. 09 373 1060

Email: hdc@hdc.org.nz


(2004, June 10). Retrieved from New Zealand Legislation: www.legislation.govt.nz

(2015, December). Retrieved from Careerforce Library: https://library.careerforce.org.nz

(2015, October). Retrieved from Alzheimer’s Australia: https://www.dementia.org.au

(2015-2018). Retrieved from New Zealand History: https://nzhistory.govt.nz

(2018, January 19). Retrieved from Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org

(2018, July 05). Retrieved from Ministry of Health – Manatu Hauora: https://www.health.govt.nz

(n.d). Retrieved from Alzheimer’s Association: https://www.alz.org

(n.d). Retrieved from Alzheimer’s New Zealand: https://www.alzheimers.org.nz/

(n.d). Retrieved from Age Concern – He Manaaakitanga Kaumatuaa: https://www.ageconcern.org.nz