• Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells.
• This damage interferes with the ability of brain cells to communicate with each other.
• When brain cells cannot communicate normally, thinking, behaviour and feelings can be affected.
Like other chronic illnesses or ‘lifestyle diseases’, reducing the risk of dementia involves a healthy diet, regular exercise and active care of your emotional and mental state.
Treatment of Dementia
There is no cure against Dementia. The progression of the illness can sometimes be slowed down by treating some of the symptoms.
Treating dementia requires a holistic, team approach. Medication, although it is important, should not be the only form of treatment.
There are 3 licensed medications for the treatment of the above types of Dementia:
These medications have been proven to:
Psychology is a very healthy way of talking through difficult situations to help persons cope with issues happening in their lives. This is particularly useful to help persons understand what a diagnosis of dementia can mean for then, or to help family members cope with the disease when things are stressful and they feel frustrated.
Speech & Language Pathologists
These professionals are very useful for stroke and dementia patients. They are trained in helping people with communication issues or swallowing problems.
Occupational Therapy is very important for persons who have fallen ill and can no longer go about their daily tasks the way they used to. Occupational Therapists assist with increasing a person’s independence and confidence by helping them to adapt and learn how to do day to day tasks such as bathing, dressing and hobbies even though they are ill.
Caring for a person living with dementia is not an easy task. Carers or caregivers refer to persons who offer support, either part time or full time (these can be unpaid relatives or friends or formal, paid care providers). Support may take the form of medication administration, company on doctor’s visits, running errands or practical nursing care.
Here are some tips to help you manage your caring role:
1. Communicate clearly
2. Dealing with personal hygiene
3. Engage and encourage
4. Consider Safety
5. Do not argue
6. Slow Down
8. Talk with others
Dementia is a complex illness that researchers are still learning about. Diagnosing dementia must therefore be done carefully and thoroughly. This is to help eliminate other diseases with similar symptoms before concluding that the core issue is dementia.
Prepare for your doctor’s visit:
Ensure that you record all medications, vitamins, and food supplements being used by the person with dementia. Ask to speak to your doctor privately if you are afraid of offending your loved one with dementia.