Alzheimer’s Caregivers face special challenges

Published 6:23 pm Saturday, February 23, 2019

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Watching a loved one battle Alzheimer’s is difficult as good days become fewer and fewer. Soon the provider is grateful for the good moment as the disease takes over.

“I found the short term became challenging,” Pastor Demetrius Moffett said. “Long term memory was phenomenal.”

Moffett was a care provider for his grandmother.

“The last 10 months, she was bedridden,” he said.

After her passing, he volunteered his time at Beaumont Healthcare to sit with Alzheimer’s patients.

“During conversations, I had to become the person they thought I was, not who I was,” Moffett said. “But the joy came to them in continued, consistent conversation.”

But, it also becomes difficult as the progression becomes more severe.

“It’s hard to see people who once had a vibrant life now reduced to not knowing the who, what, why, when and how,” Moffett said. “It gets to be real tough.”

Demetrius Moffett’s wife, Tina, also knows the hardship of working with patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

She has worked with those afflicted with the diseases for 30 years.

“It started with my grandfather,” she said. “We did not know what it was then, we just dealt with it. Nursing chose me.”

She said the hardest part of working with someone with Alzheimer’s is the not recognizing who they are anymore.

With the passage of the BOLD Act, Moffett said she sees this a positive step.

“It brings more awareness, more education,” Moffett said. “People need to know more. Knowledge is power.”

Tina Moffett suggested some tips for those caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

“Capitalize on the good moments. Allow them to talk about it,” Moffett said. “Help them celebrate and not forget. So when they are not lucid, those good times can help bring them back or help calm them when they are anxious.”

A simple suggestion of asking about a baseball game they played in or a dance they attended can help calm the person.

“They can get upset when they are trying to do things they can’t do anymore,” Moffett said. “It can be very frustrating for them. Asking them about when they played football can bring them to a place of calm.”

She also suggested music from different eras.

“Music can be soothing,” Moffett said. “They will be hunched over and when music starts playing it lifts them and their spirits.”