Managing the Potential Effects of Dementia for Healthcare Staff & Families

How to manage the effects of dementia for healthcare staff and families

The effects on families and healthcare staff over the long course of the disease are most stressful. Major areas that can help families and healthcare staff ( nurses,caregiver,healthcare assistant,doctors) include:

-Providing family and healthcare staff with education and training about the disease and effective approaches to care.
-Promoting the use of respite services such as adult day care and home companions.
-Providing individual and family counseling
-Encouraging participation in support groups
-Knowledge and education about the causes
-Methods of interpreting and managing new behaviours
-Understanding the phases of this progressive disease
-Resources and techniques

Tips For Dementia Caregivers / Nursing Dementia Patient

The Potential Impact of Working with Elderly with Dementia

Some of the potential effects on a family with person with dementia are listed below:

Personal Loss

In certain situations a family member may have to give up their own job and additionally face financial difficulty to take time to care for a loved family member. This creates not only feelings about loss of the resident but also a level of uncertainty regarding the persons stable financial future. As a direct result of this the healthcare assistant may become aware of the situation the family member is now in. This may cause the staff member to become involved with the elderly situation and become more emotionally taxing.


Some family members may encounter difficulties with their own community or family and friends network due people becoming aware of a person within the family having dementia. This may cause more strain on the individual concerned and mean that they are more physically and emotionally exhausted. The healthcare staff could be viewed as the authority on what is occuring with the resident. Additionally if the healthcare staff needs to take some time off they could feel a level of guilt as they have developed a special relationship with the resident and the family.


As a result of having a person in care with Dementia, a family member or relative could have broken sleep patterns. This means that the person will become more tired during the day and as a result of this more stress could build up. Healthcare staff may be the first to notice this build up of worry and stress on the patients family. As an impact of this, the healthcare staff caring for the elderly with dementia may feel significant responsibility and demand of caring for a resident making them feel that they cannot relax while doing their job.

What are the Potential Impact of Working with a Person with Dementia

Potential Abuse and Neglect

If a family member is feeling extreme tiredness, pressure and frustration ; They may feel it a very demanding situation to be in like supporting a resident with dementia. As a result of this, they may change their levels of support to the resident with this pressure. Additionally the elderly with dementia may develop and become physically abusive and verbally abusive. This may again change the level of support with the elderly. The healthcare staff may notice this change and see the difficulties family is going through at this time. The healthcare staff may have some difficulties in maintaining a positive approach towards the resident and the family during this time.

Role Reversal

As the elderly person develops dementia, the role of the parent and the child can swap around, as the child now has to take care of and look after the parent. This is a challenging moment for both the resident and the family member. A member of the family may wish to take on this new role and as an individual the person might not have the skills to take on this new part in the family. Some family members take up this new role as a challenge and are inspired to take on new tasks and responsibilties.

For some people, the new levels of dependability and responsibility can be difficult to accept especially where the main income earner is the person suffering with dementia. An HCA they might become aware of the pressure that the family members are now under and the HCA may have to assist the family in this new role.

Increased Awareness and Skills

A family member may develop a greater understanding of dementia and understand the significant levels of support that are required to help the resident with dementia.

Overall families and people supporting a person with dementia will gain knowledge about the disease process and what to expect with the elderly with dementia. Healthcare staff may develop a greater insight and knowledge when dealing with residents who have dementia.

The family will become aware of new information through attending meetings about dementia disease process. In many cases, this education is time consuming however family members will gain insights to information to support their family member with dementia. Additionally the new information will add to the level of discussions that they will be able to have with the healthcare staff onsite. By attending these meeting the family members will also have contact with other people who have knowledge and existing support system that could be helpful.

Learn more about Dementia:

Activities to do with your Parent who has Alzheimer’s Dementia

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