Discussions and research on the use of marijuana and it’s effects on dementia patients is a rising concern. Understanding the research and the legality behind the use of the drug can help you make a wise decision about using it.
Research has found that marijuana can help dementia patients manage their dementia behaviors and symptoms of the condition. This may seem like good news for many people, particularly those living in states in which the drug is legal, but frustrating for those who are not in those states. But more importantly one should consider the effects and benefits.
The Effects and Benefits
Studies are conflicted when it comes to how marijuana helps dementia patients. The media has reported that the drug can lead to the onset of dementia, but at the same time could also improve conditions for people who already have it. This may be paradoxical, but it’s simply what researchers are seeing in their clinical trials.
The component in marijuana (cannabis) is THC. Some studies have shown that patients taking low doses can experience improved memory. They were also better able to learn. Scientists believe this is because the component of cannabis affects the hippocampus.
Besides improving memory, there’s another way that marijuana affects dementia patients – it can lower stress. One of the reasons people seek the cannabis plant is to help them relax. This effect can be quite welcoming to people who suffer from dementia because their symptoms can often frustrate them and increase anxiety and stress. When commons techniques for how to manage dementia don’t seem to be working, one can see how just lowering the stress levels can be a huge benefit.
However, this doesn’t work necessarily for everyone! The mind is a complex part of the body. The chemicals in the brain interact with drugs in different ways, which is why some people are affected by some drugs, while others are not. The only way to truly know how marijuana will affect someone suffering from dementia is to ask their physician about it, and then try it. While you may be tempted to just give this a try, we highly recommend that you only go down this path with your doctor’s recommendation.
Seeking Marijuana for Dementia Patients
If you are in a state that does not allow medical marijuana, you cannot legally use it. The only way to use it is to go to a state where it is legal and purchase it there. You must USE it there as well. It is illegal to bring marijuana back to a state where it is prohibited.
This means dementia patients in states where medical marijuana is illegal are unable to use it to help their symptoms.
Fortunately, there is an alternative that some people have experienced benefits from and that is CBD oil. CBD oil is derived from the hemp plant and can contain a low level of THC, which is the active ingredient that helps people with dementia. There is research that shows how it may help as well as potential side effects, so be sure to check into before trying it. And again, we think you should get your doctor’s recommendation for this too. Ask your doctor about it, because it may be worth a try if you’re unable to purchase marijuana in your state.
Alternative to Marijuana for Dementia Patients
For those who do not feel comfortable using marijuana or CBD oil, there are some therapies that can help manage the behavioral symptoms of dementia. These therapies are often part of programs included in many different elder care living communities.
If you’re interested in learning more about elderly home care for someone who is suffering from dementia or senior placement services, call ElderCare Connections at 513-685-8998 or complete our contact us form. We LOVE TO HELP!!!
Dementia is a condition that can start slowly. At the onset it is often mistakenly identified as “just getting older,” but as it progresses slowly, they wonder if it’s something much more than natural aging. And caring for parent with dementia at home comes into question and presents many challenges. The FCA has provided a nice guide to understanding dementia behaviors and will definitely help you determine if your parent is beginning to show signs.
As the condition starts to take over the person’s mind, caring for a dementia patient may not longer be feasible. There are many reasons for this to be the case, several of which we address below.
Safety Concerns when Caring for a Dementia Patient
Safety is the primary concern when caring fora parent with dementia at home. Often memory lapses become the source of safety concerns. They may forget to turn off a stove. Or might light a candle and leave it unattended. They may even leave the house and walk aimlessly around the neighborhood. And without supervision or assistance, this can put your loved one at risk.
Unless you’re able to supervise your loved ones all day long, when this stage of dementia happens, it’s best to seek alternative options for care services.
Medications are an important consideration, especially when people are getting older. Again, memory lapses can be the cause of problems. Forgetting to take medication or taking it twice can lead to illness and more severe consequences – stroke, heart attack, etc.
Caring for parent with dementia at home means monitoring what medications need to be taken and when.And if caring for a dementia patient is not within your abilities or you are not able to make that large commitment, then it’s best not to try caring for your own parent with dementia at home. It’s better to have them in a living situation with a trained professional that will help them with their prescriptions.
Unkempt Appearance and Home
While this may not appear as much of as threat as the reasons above, it is still highly important. When a parent with dementia at home is unable to keep themselves and their environment clean, issues can occur that can put their health at risk. Good hygiene and maintaining a clean home may be even more important that in past as the parent grows older. As appearance begin to decline it is often a sign that additional help may be necessary.
While this may not be needed on a daily basis, if someone can visit your loved one to help them with daily living skills every other day or at least three times a week, that would be best. If this is not possible, assisted living communities may be a great option.
When Caring for a Parent with Dementia at Home is no longer possible
One of the most common feelings people have caring for a dementia patient is guilt. When it comes seeking elderly care, it’s also common to feel as though you are letting them down, or giving up on them. This guilt is not warranted, though.
You have been caring for your parent with dementia at home up to this point, and now, it’s no longer feasible for you to continue. This does not make you a bad person or inadequate. It simply means your loved one’s needs have exceeded your ability to help him/her enough. Often, because of feelings of guilt, people try to care for parents with dementia at home long beyond what they really can handle. You actually could be doing the wrong thing continuing to try and then putting your older loved one at increased risk, or at the very least providing a less compatible environment that what they really need.
Making the Decision to Seek Elder Care
Reach out to ElderCare Connections for help with this situation. We help you find the right type of support for your loved one’s needs. Whether you need senior placement services or elderly home care our specialists will help you determine the perfect fit for your loved one. We work with people every single day and help them in many ways for no cost at all.
You have nothing to lose so just call us and ask for information. We know it’s a hard time, and we want to make it easier for you. Reach out to us by completing our contact us form, or you can reach us at (513) 685-8998.