The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Department of Nursing and Healthcare said people struggling to take care of family members with dementia should make use of the ministry’s dementia care services and resources.
The invitation came after a case reported on Saturday, in which a 21-year-old woman, who lived with her grandparents in Taoyuan, allegedly killed her grandmother — who had dementia and was about to be sent to a nursing home — a few days after her grandfather passed away, and later committed suicide by jumping out of a window.
Aside from memory loss, people with dementia can also suffer from cognitive dysfunction and exhibit disruptive behaviors, so taking care of family members with dementia is not an easy task, the department said.
In order to prevent similar tragedies, the department urged people to make use of its dementia care services and resources, including daycare units, dementia community service branches, nursing facilities with specialized dementia care services and accommodation, group homes for elderly people with dementia, and special courses for people with dementia.
A family caregivers support network has been established to provide information and psychological support, including caregiver training courses, mutual help groups, and collaboration with local healthcare groups to provide early intervention, care visits, discussion groups and other activities, the department said.
It said the services and resources on offer can be found at the ministry’s Facebook page on long-term care: www.facebook.com/mohw.ltc/posts/624477361052019).
In addition, the ministry operates three helplines: the Family Caregivers Helpline (0800-580-097), the Dementia Care Hotline (0800-474-580) and the Long-term Care Hotline (412-8080).
Taiwan Alzheimer’s Disease Association chairman Lai Te-jen (賴德仁) also reacted to the tragic case.
He said that if people see family members showing signs of depression such as irritability, crying, serious sleep disorders or suicidal ideation, they should take them to visit a mental health professional.
Family members should discuss their responsibilities and make arrangements to take care of patients with dementia together, he said.
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