Dementia is a very serious yet common mental condition that many senior citizens have to face. Though dementia is almost exclusive to older people, it is not actually a part of normal ageing.
Dementia is actually a collective term for all the conditions, diseases and disorders that cause a decline in memory, and other cognitive skills of the affected people. The most common cause of dementia that is known to many people is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is actually the cause of around 60 to 80 percent of all dementia cases.
According to a recent stat, almost 50 million people in the world are affected by dementia, and every year around 10 million new cases are diagnosed.
Dementia is actually one of the major causes of disability among senior citizens, and it is very hard for both the patients and caretakers to deal with. So, in this post, we are going to be discussing dementia and some basic care tips and advice that will be very helpful for the caretakers. Stick around to learn more about how you can provide your loved ones with the best care when they need it the most.
The symptoms of dementia may vary in different people, but most forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, are progressive in nature. It means that the symptoms of dementia start out slow and increase over time. It may start as something small, like starting to forget names, or other basic things.
If you feel that you or anyone else around you is having trouble remembering simple things, you should visit the doctor. If you can determine the cause of dementia in an early stage, you have a lot of options to deal with it. Early diagnosis can help in the treatment, and you can try out different supplements that can slow down the deterioration process and even halt it in some cases.
Basically, all forms of dementia are caused by damage to brain cells. While the majority of the cases that cause dementia are permanent and get worse over time, there are certain habits and things that increase one’s risk of being affected by dementia. Depression, excessive use of alcohol, deficiency of certain vitamins and side effects caused by medications can contribute a lot towards the worsening and development of dementia.
Tips and Advice for Caretakers
According to a recent study, around 15 million people in the United States care for someone with dementia. Being a caregiver for someone with dementia can be a very difficult and demanding job, so here are a few pieces of advice that you should follow to take care of your loved ones more effectively.
- Use Simple and Understandable Speech
It may seem like an obvious piece of advice, yet many people who take care of dementia patients make this mistake. You need to understand that the questions that may seem simple and basic to you aren’t the same for the person you are caring for.
One of the most common mistakes that many people make is that they ask open-ended questions. They may ask, “What would you like to eat for lunch?” it may be a simple enough question for a normal person, but someone with dementia could find it overwhelming.
When you are asking such questions, make them more specific, like “would you like some pasta for lunch?” Your goal should be to ask questions that can be answered by a simple yes or no.
- Patience is Crucial
A person who is affected by dementia is usually trying very hard to recover the speaking and thinking skills they’ve lost, which is why they usually stay quite agitated and restless. In such situations, it is very important for you to be patient with them and try to help them relax and rest.
When a person with dementia is agitated, they can be very difficult. It is your job to be patient and control the situation. You need to stay calm, and help the patient relax as well.
- Create a Peaceful and Relaxing Environment
Untidiness and clutter make everyone feel uneasy and agitated, and someone with dementia can find a disorganized and messy room to be very distressing and annoying. Very small discomforts can bother dementia patients a lot, so make sure that their environment is soothing and comfortable.
For the room of a dementia patient, you should always use calm, neutral and soothing colors. Bright colors and busy patterns can be discomforting for dementia patients, so they need to be avoided.
If you’re listening to music, choose something with a soothing ambiance and sound. Remember not to leave the TV on in the background, as trying to perceive inaudible sounds can be very unpleasant for dementia patients.
The fragrance of fresh flowers, essential oils and scented soaps can be therapeutic and relaxing for them. Just make sure that the scents are quite mild and mellow.
- Try Some Alternative Relief Methods
When a person has dementia, your goal should be to make their life as easy and comfortable as possible. There are many supplements in the market that can help dementia patients relax, but you really don’t want to deal with the side effects of drugs with a dementia patient.
Cannabis is a very effective alternative that is known to provide relief and relaxation to dementia patients. Cannabis is a very popular drug in the US, and because of its amazing medical benefits, it has actually been legalized in the majority of the US and Canada. It can help soothe certain behavioral symptoms of dementia, such as irritation and aggression.
Some independent studies also say that cannabis can be helpful in preventing certain causes of dementia, like Alzheimer’s. So, if you want to give it a try, check out the blue god weed strain, which is very helpful for dementia patients.
- Laughter is Helpful for Dementia Patients
Laughter is the best form of therapy. It can help people counter stress and anxiety. Laughter has also; however, been proven to be quite beneficial and helpful for people with memory loss or dementia.
A recent study conducted in Australia actually proved that jokes could function the same way as using stress-relieving medication. Apart from the patient, laughter can also help you let go of some stress, as being a caretaker is also quite a stressful job
- Physical Exercise is Good for You and the Patient
Physical exercise is, of course, very healthy for the body, but many studies have actually shown that it can improve the health of the mind and slow down its ageing. On the other hand, many studies also indicate that a sedentary lifestyle can actually increase the ageing of the brain.
Physical exercise can also be very helpful for patients who already have dementia. Exercising can increase the blood circulation to the brain, and it can trigger the release of many neurotransmitters that are good for dementia patients.
Dementia is a very serious problem and even though some of the risk factors associated with dementia, like genetics and age can’t really be changed; recent studies have shown that certain healthy lifestyle choices, like taking a healthy diet, exercising, not smoking or drinking alcohol, and decreasing stress can decrease the risk of dementia.
So try to stay happy, maintain a healthy lifestyle and help the people you care for do the same.