Dementia is not a disease. It is a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in mental abilities and cognitive functions, such as memory, attention, language, difficulties with thinking, comprehension, reasoning, problem solving.
Dementia is caused when the brain is affected by certain conditions, disease, such as Alzheimer’s disease, or series of strokes (Vascular Dementia). Those two types of dementia are most common. Dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms gradually become worse.
THERE ARE MANY TYPES OF DEMENTIA:
THE SIGNS OF DEMENTIA ARE:
Forgetfulness that affects the ability to lead a normal life
Difficulty with day-to-day tasks
Memory loss can make it very difficult to perform basic home tasks.
Problems with language
People with Dementia often forget words and lose track of what they are saying
Confusion over time and place
It is not uncommon for individuals living with dementia to get lost in their own street, even if they've taken the same route for years.
Inability to make judgements
Making good judgements - such as whether or not it is safe to cross a road - requires quick thinking and common sense, both of which can be obscured by dementia.
Problems with abstract thinking
People with dementia cannot balance a budget. They might completely forget what the numbers are and what needs to be done with them.
People with dementia frequently put objects in places they clearly don't belong (e.g. books in the fridge, dishes in the wardrobe etc.). This makes it very easy for important things to become lost, and adds to the confusion and frustration of dementia.
People with dementia often experience great surges of emotion, such as anger and sadness, which can lead to emotional outbursts.
People suffering from dementia often lose a grip on who they used to be. dementia can also result in a loss of inhibitions, leading to socially inappropriate/over familiar behavior
Loss of motivation
People with dementia often become passive and lose interest in things that they used to enjoy.
WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT?
Dementia is a scary, inconsistent condition. It can hurt a lot to see someone you know and love deteriorate in such a way. Although their body is there and they look the same, you may feel like the person inside is gone.
People with dementia may suffer from depression and/or behavioral problems. They may often become annoyed easily, or act aggressively towards a family member or friends.
Mood is usually affected in individuals coping with dementia. Sufferers can often become flustered and distressed. In some cases can become even aggressive.
Seniors who are diagnosed with progressive dementia should not enjoy a decent quality of life without support of loving relatives, hardworking caregivers, competent physicians, and professional senior care providers.
Although Dementia cannot be cured or reversed, it can be managed for years.
In the early stages of any type of dementia, no one is more frustrated than the individual that is afflicted. As the disease progresses you must always keep in mind that the individual affected has a story...they have a history.
They were once someone's baby that was held in the arms of a caring mother. They were once the spouse of a loving companion. They were once a mother that cared for and nurtured her children. They are a human being with feelings and needs that must be met.
Take care for your family members that suffer from mentally debilitating illnesses.
HOW TO HELP SENIORS WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH DEMENTIA TO STAY MORE HEALTHY AND HAPPY?
Staying mobile is one of the keys to stay healthy and happy. Whatever approach you choose, try to make it dependable, and as much pleasant as possible, so it will be comfortable and reassuring instead of new and challenging. Here are some suggestions:
Don’t leave the person at home alone
Try to keep your loved ones connected to people who are important to them and your relative
Go with them for walks and stop for snacks or drinks
Go to the places of interest, which often trigger old memories and interesting conversation
Drive in the country or just around the neighborhood can be soothing too
Limit errands to one or two a days.
Give the person a purpose and feeling to be needed.
Love. Give a lot of love. It makes the person feel safe and cared for.
Don’t let your fear that he may make a mistake in public stop you from trying a potentially enjoyable activity.
If something goes wrong try to stay calm. People with Dementia or Alzheimer’s are more sensitive to your response that to the mistake.
Try to ignore any rude comments, or stares that may come your way and revel in the kindness you will encounter.
Never argue with the person with dementia. It causes agitation for both of you and makes everything harder.
Be patient, It can take someone with dementia longer to understand your question and come up with an answer.
Redirect. If the person is frustrated or upset, try changing the topic. Suggest a favorite activity.
Simple. Keep sentences simple to facilitate communication. Talk about things from the past. Recent memories will fade more quickly
Validate feelings and thoughts.
“Yes, It is Tuesday (even if it is Friday) but today we are going to do a Friday activity” Do not tell the person that he or she is wrong.
Be empathetic. He or she is frustrated by the disease too.
Follow the lead. If the person with dementia wants to tell the same story or wash the same dish over and over again, let them.
Investigate. If the person is agitated, he or she may not be able to tell you why; Is she hungry, or thirsty? Tired?
Keep eye contact. It establishes trust and helps you make a connection.
Person with dementia should be involved in doing home chores. Even if it is done wrong, the person will feel worthy and useful.
SYMPTOMS DURING THE FINAL STAGES OF DEMENTIA
As the illness advances, there is a severe cognitive decline. The patients occasionally forgetting the name of their friends and relatives, or even of the person who takes care of them all the time, though they will recall their own name in almost all cases. Despite forgetting names, the dementia's sufferers will frequently continue distinguishing familiar from unfamiliar persons. For the most part won’t remember recent events of their life, having some knowledge of the past but usually very sketchy. Generally, they won’t be aware of surroundings, or the time of the year, and may also has difficulties with tasks like counting to 10.
They will require assistance for most activities, and may become incontinent.
They will also find it hard moving around, but may manage by themselves, if they are in familiar surroundings.
They may exhibit delusional behavior, like accusing their close ones, talking to imaginary figures, or to their reflection in the mirror.
They may also have obsessive behaviors, like continually repeating simple cleaning activities.
Anxiety and agitation also become frequent in the behavior.
At the very last stages, the person becomes profoundly demented and loses mobility. Dementia's sufferer will become weaker, gradually lose weight and become more susceptible to respiratory infections and similar ailments.
At this stages the physical health is extremely delicate, so the person can pass away being affected with pneumonia or some other illness, Due to the loss of strength, he/she won’t be able to sit up on bed, or hold up head without help. Eventually, he/she won’t be able to talk, will be sleeping most of the time, won’t know anyone and will have to be hand fed; will usually find it difficult to chew and swallow, so nutrition ends up being a problem.
Each prognosis is different
due to the person’s general health, or if there are other underlying conditions
coexisting with dementia. The condition will progress differently from person
to person as well. There is not a way to properly determine the length of life
after a diagnosis, or how quickly the onset of symptom progression will be. It
depends on many factors, where family support plays a key role to delay the progression of this disease.