Everything You Need To Know About Dementia
Do you have a loved one going through dementia? Is it your first time hearing about it and you don’t know how to take care of your loved one? Learning a family member or a loved one has this disease is heartbreaking. They need all the support you can give them and make them as comfortable as possible, according to therapists.
“Dementia is a decline in cognitive function,” says Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD. “To be considered dementia, mental impairment must affect at least two brain function.”
Dementia has no precise medication as of now. It is characterized by a slow loss of memory that can lead to physical decline, behavioral changes, and even death. Sometimes, the memories of the person are gone, and it can be hard for them, too. Watching your loved one slowly fading away is very upsetting, especially when you are at a loss on how you can take care of them.
In this article, we will be discussing dementia and how you can care for someone you love suffering from it.
There are three stages of dementia:
This is the first stage of dementia. According to BetterHelp licensed professionals, person diagnosed with this have difficulties remembering names and some words, they also have problems doing activities like driving, it is hard for them to retain new information, and they may show signs of depression.
This is where things get a little worse. Patients suffering from the second stage of dementia will affect their judgment, they have a hard time with physical functions, and their sensory processing slows down. This affects their hygiene, and it can be dangerous if they can move around for they can be in an accident. This is also a hard time for the caregiver for sometimes patients do not listen and want to wander around.
This stage is where almost all memory is lost. The patient will also have a hard time with physical functions like swallowing and mobility. Bowel movements are also out of control. Patients will have difficulty recognizing family and friends and requires around the clock care.
It is tough to see a person you love suffering and losing their memory. It is difficult to talk to them, and it’s painful to watch them not recognize you. Sometimes, it makes us wish that it was us instead of them. But all we can do is support and care for them to the best of what we can do. Here are some ways we can take care of our loved ones with dementia:
You Will Need All The Support That You Can Get
Never be ashamed or scared to ask for support. This is a hard time for you, too. There are support groups for people taking care of someone with dementia, and you can find out how they do it, and you can relate to their everyday struggles, and they can connect to you. This can help you let out some steam and frustrations that you’ve been feeling without feeling judged or pitied.
Empathize With Your Patient
Patients who have dementia cannot retain their memories and can get easily confused with their whereabouts. Instead of being frustrated, empathize, and see yourself in their position and how hard it is to be suddenly confused and scared of not knowing where you are.
For neurologists, Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN et al. say that “helping patients to live well with dementia includes giving guidance on issues of safety, such as driving, firearms, falls prevention, wandering, and other environmental safety issues. The neurologist should recommend GPS devices if wandering risk is significant, and formal driving assessments by physical therapists can aid in determining whether driving restriction is indicated.”
Be A Sensible Caregiver
There will be good days, and there will be bad days. The only thing you can do is to make their lives comfortable and making sure they are safe for they don’t know the good from wrong anymore. Cherish those good days and be patient during bad days.
It Is More Than Just Losing Memories
Though memory loss is one of the main symptoms of dementia, there is more to it. A person with dementia can also have a changed personality and can lose mobility. They are experiencing neurological decline that can lead to more than just memory loss. Sometimes, it ends in total brain malfunction.
You know that one day, you will need to seek professional help and let them stay in a home care system where there are experts with memory care. We cannot avoid this, especially if we are not professionals. Planning for the best care in your area and the financial things needed are supposed to be your priority. You can start as early as now, so you are ensured that your loved ones will be taken care of the best people.
According to Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD, “dementia treatment […] can focus on correcting all reversible factors and slowing irreversible factors of dementia, for example, correcting drug doses, treating symptoms, treating depression, and treating specific medical disorders such as heart disease and diabetes.” He also mentioned that “Surgery is reserved for specific conditions that may improve the individual’s condition such as removal of a brain tumor.”
We have learned a lot now, and we can surely prepare our home, so our loved ones with dementia can still live comfortably and safely. It will be a lot of work, and there will be moments where you think you are not doing the right thing or you are not doing enough, but you are. Just remember that there will be people around you to support you and help you take care of your loved one.