What is Dementia?
Dementia is one form of cognitive dysfunction wherein affected area of the brain can cause serious problems to a person’s memory, language, attention and sometimes can cause inability to solve simple problems and perform daily activities. Unfortunately, dementia is incurable and progressive although the progress can be a little bit slowed down by medical treatments. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 35.6 million people worldwide affected by dementia as of April 2012 and each year 7.7 million of new cases are found. Alzheimer’s disease, which is a common form of dementia, contributes to the 60% – 70% of the cases.
Signs and Symptoms of Dementia
Although dementia can occur to younger people, this syndrome mainly affects the older population but it is not considered as part of ageing. Forgetfulness is the most common symptom at an early stage. As dementia progresses, affected persons become more disoriented forgetting even the most recent events and names of immediate family members. They lose track of date and time, have problems with language and communication and sometimes keep on recalling selective past events. As the syndrome advances, behavioral changes and mood swings are very evident even to the point of aggression. Disorientation has fully developed resulting to being unaware of time and place. At this stage, personal care and assistance is greatly needed.
Caring for a Person with Dementia
Theres’s no doubt that having a member of the family with dementia can provide physical, emotional and economic pressure because he needs all the support he could get from the able family members. The first step towards caring for a loved one with dementia is acceptance. Once an elder is diagnosed with the syndrome, other members of the family should acknowledge that there are no clinically proven medications to cure it. The next best thing to do is to educate the rest of the family members about the syndrome, its signs and symptoms and the underlying effects of dementia on their elder.
As an elder with dementia can hardly attend to his physical and emotional needs, the family should decide what type of care they would give him. Needless to say, professional help could be very advantageous to him but, of course, more expensive . It’s not only attending to the normal daily life activities of feeding, bathing and grooming but more on the specialized care in times of the elder’s depression and behavioral disturbances. Effects of dementia vary that is why individualized attention in a home care is greatly recommended. The family could also decide to house their elder in a Nursing Home, which also provides the necessary care for elders with dementia and nowadays, these homes are equipped with better faculties, facilities and amenities that could make elders comfortable.
Whatever care the family has decided for their elder with dementia, it is very important to note that family members and friends play a very important role in caring for their elder. They can make a valuable contribution in alleviating the condition of their elder by the love, understanding and support they coud give.