As humans age, there are different types of ailments that start showing signs. One such common ailment is dementia. Dementia is a medical condition in which the mental ability of a patient deteriorates and leads to hindrance in remembering things and performing daily life tasks. Dementia can happen at different stages of old age, and the different types of dementia can be categorized as Alzheimer’s, Lewy body dementia, Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal, etc. For such medical conditions, the caregiver needs to be tolerant towards the patient and give them time and space to cope with the changes that are happening.
As a caregiver, you need to understand that dementia is not a disease but a combination of symptoms related to brain dysfunction. These signs and symptoms include:
The earliest sign of the onset of dementia is the difficulty in remembering things. At this stage, only affect the patient’s short-term memory gets affected. This means that the overall memory will be intact, however, the patient may forget what they did a few hours ago. During such times, a caregiver needs to be calm and not confuse the patient furthermore.
Dementia causes changes in how the patient may feel through a day. There will be cycles of mood swings with bouts of depression. People suffering from dementia may also experience personality change in which they may suddenly become shy or less talkative or vice versa.
Dementia is a condition that affects the mental ability of a person. Our mental functioning also involves bodily movements. The onset of dementia causes mobility dysfunction which can cause the patient to lose balance while walking or misjudging steps when coming downstairs.
Dementia patients struggle to remember small things which include directions as well. For a person suffering from dementia, important route or landmarks may not immediately make them feel familiar with a place, and this can cause confusion. Some may even lose their way back from a location that they were once well-versed with.
Dementia can harm the vocabulary of a person as it becomes difficult for a patient to quickly come up with words to communicate. This makes the speech of a patient slower than their usual speed. Patients may even struggle to find the correct word to speak and will not be able to carry on conversations with the same ease as they used to before.
Dementia is a condition that can leave a patient quite dependent on their caregivers. Such a situation can be a little difficult for the caregiver. There are many resources available to care givers in providing care for dementia family members. One example of this is a 24/7 help line for family members looking for advice. If you dial 811 you can reach this service for help. Also Alberta Health Services offers courses for care givers that helps in providing strategies to reduce stress as well as optimize care for their family members.