Friday, April 16, 2021

Understanding Dementia and How to Cope with it

Dementia

Dementia is a common term used to describe the weakening or deterioration of mental ability like memory, thinking behavior that impairs a person’s ability to communicate and ability to perform daily activities.

According World Health Organization around 50 million people have dementia worldwide, and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year. 60-70% of cases have Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia. It is also stated that while it affects the older generation, it is not a normal part of aging.

It is heartbreaking and overwhelming not only for the people who have it but also for their families. Most often, lack of understanding and awareness results in stigmatization, thus affecting proper care. Remember, persons with Dementia need constant care and companion, and most families opposed to moving their loved ones having the syndrome to an assisted living community thus, choose to seek additional support at home through Dementia home care specialists who can provide a high level of care and support that your loved one deserves.

Signs and Symptoms

Dementia results from a variety of injuries and diseases that affect the brain such as Parkinson’s disease dementia, stroke, or Alzheimer's disease. The onset of symptoms may be noticed by the person himself, family and diagnosed by a Neurologist. Possible signs and symptoms are as follows:

  • Forgetfulness and recent memory loss. Forgetting what is asked and asking the same question repeatedly.
  • Disorientation – getting lost in a previously familiar place, like a supermarket or neighborhood street.
  • Having trouble in completing familiar daily tasks – like cooking a meal or even making coffee
  • Communication difficulties and loss of initiative– like having trouble remembering and using simple words then showing less interest in starting something or going somewhere.
  • Misplacing things – forgetting the location of everyday items such as wallet or keys to name a few.
  • Temper, mood, and personality changes – sudden changing of disposition and temperament being irritable, fearful or suspicious.

Foods bad for dementia

The following foods are not recommended for daily intake for people having the syndrome.

  • Red meat - should have fewer than 4 servings a week
  • Butter and margarine - less than a tablespoon of butter a day
  • Cheese - less than a serving a week
  • Pastries and sweets - less than a serving a week
  • Fried and Fast-food - less than a serving a week

Dementia

How to Cope with Dementia


Daily tasks and activities

It is vital for the individual having the disease to retain their normal daily activities as much as possible. It will also be helpful to let them be with their beloved pet dog or cat as it can help reduce anxiety, loneliness, and agitation.

Find subtle ways to step in when your loved one needs help that he may not be ready to ask for, like taking medication or taking a bath.

One task at a time, don’t bombard him with multiple tasks, be patient.

Aggressive behavior

People with dementia will exhibit hostile action and speech as their response to being helpless and confused feeling. They will be able to sense if you are angry or agitated as they pay more attention to what they see and not what they hear. Therefore, there is a tendency that they will less likely to cooperate.  

Stay calm, don’t be contradictory. They are most often being aggressive because they cannot express what they are trying to convey. Shift their focus by asking one question at a time; Ask questions answerable with yes or no.

Respect

Always treat them with courtesy and respect. Listen and talk less. Let them do the talking most of the time so you will know more about what is bothering them. Never criticize or scold them, most importantly don’t brush their feelings aside. This is the time when you need to understand them more than hate them.

Self-care and Respite

When you are providing care for your loved one with dementia, you also need to take care of yourself, take a break as you may also experience emotional stress and a physical toll on your body. Take time to have a breathing space, accept helping hands from family members or seek the service of home care specialists in your area. You do not need to shoulder the burden alone. Respite and recharge.

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