Dementia and the burden of care
When her mother developed vascular dementia at the age of 78, Lynda Markut and her siblings began caring for their mother full-time, and seeing first hand the debilitating effects of the disease on the woman Lynda describes as her hero. Lynda recalls the difficult transition from the role of “daughter” to that of “caregiver” :
“When I was in the role of daughter, that role included providing care because that was part of my life,” she says. “It was not until my mother needed so much care that I realized part of that role had changed; I was her daughter some of the time, but I was also her caregiver. Just acknowledging that role was really hard.”
In the years after the diagnosis, Lynda immersed herself in researching dementia, trying to learn as much as she could about the disease in order to better care for her mother. Like many of the caregivers I’ve met in my involvement with the Alzheimer’s Association and also through this podcast, Lynda took a positive and proactive approach in her role, using creative and holistic methods to help her mother cope. Armed with as much knowledge as was available at the time, Lynda was able to improve her mother’s quality of life, and also used that information to comfort herself and others with the burden of care.
For the past 30 years, Lynda has continued her work in the field of dementia and memory loss. As the Workplace Education Coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association, she travels to companies to increase awareness for brain health. She co-authored the book Dementia Caregivers Share Their Stories: A Support Group in a Book, and currently trains other caregivers who work with the elderly.
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