Dementia is a widespread disease about which too little is still spoken in the media environment. Therefore, to fill this gap we are bringing you a compendium of knowledge about this disease. Would you like to learn more about the effects of dementia? Are you interested in the principles of dementia care? Or perhaps technical questions such as how does dementia affect the brain? You’ll find it all in this article, so read carefully.
What is dementia?
Historically, senile dementia denoted changes in cognitive functioning that were considered a natural part of the human ageing process. Nowadays, in fact, memory impairment and other manifestations of senile dementia are no longer considered to be naturally occurring phenomena, but rather symptoms of one of the distinguished dementia disorders. Currently, the WHO reports that 50 million people worldwide suffer from senile dementia, although by 2030, the number is expected to exceed 80 million and by 2050 to exceed 150 million. That is why it is so important to raise awareness of dementia care.
What causes dementia?
Contrary to popular belief, dementia does not happen to everyone in old age. What causes dementia? It can be caused by a variety of comorbidities. The most common conditions causing dementia are Alzheimer’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and mixed dementia. These diseases cause changes in different parts of the brain, so the effects of dementia can vary from person to person. Dementia is an entity in which patients develop deficits in several areas of functioning, which are memory, attention and decision-making skills, as well as communication with the environment.
How does dementia affect the brain?
Dementia-induced brain changes disrupt the intercommunication of brain cells, which affects memory, thinking, behaviour, feelings, mood, and speech. Why? We all know that different areas of the brain are responsible for different functions. When cells in a particular area of the brain are damaged, they cannot function properly. As a result, people affected by dementia may lose interest in everyday activities, relationships and social gatherings. Their personality may change and problems remembering events or understanding situations may give the impression that these people are deliberately ignoring problems or not telling the truth, which is worth bearing in mind to ensure appropriate dementia care.
What are the effects of dementia?
Dementia manifests itself as a set of symptoms resulting from abnormal brain function, such as deterioration or loss of memory, disorientation, delusions, speech difficulties or unusual behaviour. All of these effects of dementia can lead to progressive impairment and the inability to perform basic daily activities. People with advanced dementia cannot live independently and very often suffer from isolation and social ostracism. Therefore, if your loved one is suffering from dementia, you should provide appropriate dementia care as soon as possible. Otherwise, such a person may pose a serious danger to themselves and others.
How to care for someone with dementia?
The impact of dementia on the individual can be very negative or moderate. It all depends on whether the individual has the right form of dementia care. Below we outline the key principles of dementia care. How to care for someone with dementia?
There are many methods of dementia care, so it is worth recalling some basic principles:
- Ensure a regular and repetitive daily rhythm. This way, the senior citizen is not so often lost and does not have to learn new things.
- Be patient and remember that aggressive or even frantic behaviour of seniors is caused by illness. In such situations, it is important to be patient and wait out the crisis situation.
- Do all activities around the senior slowly and with prior notice.
- Reduce any noise that may interfere with a quiet existence in the senior’s flat. Fewer stimuli will make the person under dementia care feel safer.
- Ensure that the senior’s diet is sufficient. During dementia, patients tend to lose weight, which is life-threatening, so it is important to maintain a high-calorie diet, administered in consultation with the doctor.
- Offer the mentee various forms of entertainment to calm and improve brain function. Activities such as painting, drawing, crocheting, crosswords, puzzles and memory games work well in dementia care.
- Do not be afraid to ask for help. People in the advanced stages of dementia can be aggressive and difficult to deal with, and require round-the-clock care. Therefore, if you fear that you cannot cope, do not hesitate to ask for help from professionals. With professional dementia care, you can improve the health of the person with dementia and ensure that they live with dignity.
How does dementia affect daily life?
There is no denying that dementia can have a dramatic impact on a patient’s quality of life. However, by providing such a person with good dementia care, the progression of the disease can be significantly slowed down and the senior’s quality of life can be positively affected. That’s why it’s so important to spread the word and find the right professional live-in care to provide your loved ones with the right dementia care, allowing them to live the last stage of their lives happily.