Dementia | Stages, Symptoms, Risk Factor, Prevention
What is Dementia?
Dementia is a syndrome usually of a chronic or progressive nature – in which there is a failure in cognitive function beyond what might be expected from normal aging. It is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide.
According to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), it is not a specific disease but it is rather a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interfere with doing everyday activities.
How common is dementia? Based on the CDC (centers for Disease Control and Prevention) of those at 65 years of age, there is an estimated 5.0 million adults with dementia in 2014 and projected to be nearly 14 million in 2060.
Stages, Signs, and Symptoms
Dementia is a general term so symptoms can vary from person to person. Symptoms can be linked in three stages:
1. Early Stage
- Losing track of the time
- Becoming lost in familiar places.
2. Middle Stage
In this stage, signs become clear and more restricted.
- Becoming forgetful of recent events and people’s name
- Becoming lost at home
- Having increasing difficulty with communication
- Needing help with personal care
- Experiencing behavior changes
- Including wandering and repeated questioning.
- becoming unaware of the time and place
- difficulty recognizing relatives and friends
- an increasing need for assisted self-care
- having difficulty walking
- experiencing behavior changes that may escalate and include aggression
- Alzheimer’s Disease – This is the most commonly seen type and the symptoms are trouble remembering recent events while difficulty remembering more distant memories occurs later in the disease.
- Vascular Dementia – It is a general term describing problems with reasoning, planning, judgment, memory, and other thought processes caused by brain damage from l blood flow to your brain. The disease progresses in a step by step process, symptoms will suddenly get worse as the individual gets more strokes or mini-strokes.
- Lewy body Dementia –It is the second most common type. It is an abnormal deposit of protein that affects chemicals in the brain that can lead to problems with thinking, movement, behavior, and mood.
- Frontotemporal Dementia – This type will lead to changes in personality and behavior because of the part of the brain it affects. There may also be problems with language skills like speaking or understanding.
- Mixed Dementia – Sometimes more than one type of dementia is present in the brain at the same time, especially in people aged 80 and older. For example, a person may have Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
- Poor nutrition – People with dementia reduce or stop eating as a result affect their nutrient intake.
- Pneumonia – Difficulty in swallowing will increase the risk of choking and aspirating food into the lungs, which can block breathing and cause pneumonia.
- Inability to perform self-care tasks – dementia can affect the daily activity of a person. For example, eating, bathing, dressing, going to the toilet independently, and taking medication accurately.
- Personal safety severely ety challenges – Symptoms such as confusion, memory loss, and disorientation are common, while limited strength and coordination may affect safety. It is important that family, friends, and health professionals help the person with dementia to feel and be as secure as possible.
- Death –The actual death of a person with dementia may be caused by another condition. Their ability to cope with infection and other physical problems will be weakened due to the progress of dementia. In many cases, death may be quicken by a critical illness such as pneumonia.
- Family history
- Doing physical activity
- Quitting smoking
- Avoiding harmful use of alcohol
- Maintain a healthy diet
Cognitive stimulation of Dementia
Exercising the brain is an important and enjoyable part of everyday life for everyone. So, an activity that exercises the brain may build brain reserve that helps to compensate for the damage caused by Alzheimer’s or other types of disease.
- Listening to the radio
- Visiting a museum
- Taking a course
- Learning a new language
- Playing a musical instrument
- Artistic and other hobbies
- Board games
- Puzzle games
Providing care for a person with dementia is physically and emotionally demanding. Changes in mood and personality can be a reason for changes in dementia, therefore, these are the most distressing for caregivers.
There are many ways to help your family member maximize his or her independence and cope with cognitive symptoms:
Learning and understanding dementia
Knowing more about dementia can enhance and improve the health of both patients and the health care provider and learned what is the proper care to avoid symptoms get worst.
Seek Out Support
Seeking help from the support group, families and friends would help members of the dementia patient to know what is the proper care plan for patients, therefore, getting support from the expert would probably reduce the high chance of getting it worst.
Giving encouragement / Established supportive activities/ Safety
It can help a person cope with dementia by being there to listen and reassuring that a person’s life can still be enjoyed. Provide a calm environment and establish a daily routine or activity that can help reduce worry and anxiety and can improve cognitive skills.
Above all, safety should be on the top of your list because some behaviors can be dangerous for a person with dementia and to the caregiver.
What Do Caregivers Need to Know?
Here are some suggestions for caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. These tips may help you cope with some of the challenges.
- You might not be recognized. Dementia may forget certain people while remembering others.
- Try to meet the person. It’s best not to correct a dementia patient about what year it is, where they are, or other things. This can cause distress and reduce trust.
- Routine is important. Dementia patients are usually most comfortable with what they know and are familiar with.
- Discuss behavioral changes with the doctor. Some behaviors, such as aggression, can be related to undertreated pain or maybe side effects of numerous medications.