Common Myths And Facts About Dementia Care In India
“Are Dementia and Alzheimer’s the same?”
“Can it can be cured with medicines?”
“Will the memory loss progress?”
We have collected data from multiple caregiver families from diverse backgrounds. There was one thing common among all these people was the presence of myths in their minds, which may come in a way of understanding and planning for the loved ones affected by the dementia disease. Therefore, it is important to bust these myths and to understand the facts for dementia care in India.
Here are some of the most common doubts people have:
- Myth – Dementia is a natural part of aging.
Fact – It is important to realize that the severity and frequency of the symptoms of this disease are much greater than the normal aging that in turn affects the daily living of the person.
- Myth – it happens only to the elderly.
Fact – A small proportion of the population can have Younger Onset dementia, the symptoms in such cases occur before the age of 65 years. Alzheimer’s disease has the highest frequency in that.
- Myth – A Dementia patient is unaware of his or her acts.
Fact – Many of the dementia patients do know and understand what they want, it’s only the inability to communicate properly due to the changes in their sensory modalities. It becomes difficult for the loved ones to clearly express themselves.
- Myth – Alzheimer’s and Dementia are the same disease.
Fact – Dementia is a disease that has many sub-types and it is a cluster of symptoms, while Alzheimer’s is one sub-type of it that has its own characteristics.
- Myth – Dementia is reversible, but Alzheimer’s is not.
Fact – Some forms of dementia are reversible (e.g.: Korsakoff Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury, Normal pressure Hydrocephalus). On the other hand, Alzheimer’s is a progressive terminal condition. Medicines only help in the initial to the moderate stage, for behavior management.
- Myth – It equates memory loss.
Fact – Dementia is beyond memory loss and affects every domain of a person’s life. Difficulty in remembering recent conversations, names or events is often an early clinical symptom; apathy and depression are also often early symptoms. Symptoms at a later stage may include impaired communication, confusion, disorientation, behavioral changes, poor judgment, and ultimately difficulty speaking, swallowing, and walking.
- Myth – Dementia patients become incompetent after the diagnosis of the disease.
Fact – Proper and timely diagnosis of dementia along with correct interventions can help the patient to be engaged meaningfully and purposefully.
- Myth – All Dementia patients’ progress in a similar manner.
Fact – Dementia is very unique to the individual suffering from it. There is a range of symptoms that are characteristically observed: Agitation, Wandering, Aggression, Paranoia, Sundowning, Personal Hygiene Issues, Hallucinations (in some cases). However, the symptoms show up in different orders and degrees.
- My father had Dementia; will I also develop it? Research states that having a first-degree relative only increases the risk. When a disease runs in the family, coupled with similar lifestyle choices and patterns, one is at a greater risk of developing it.
- Having any particular diet helps? Research states having a healthy diet along with an active lifestyle is one of the strongest modifiable risk factors for Dementia. MIND Diet which stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neuro degenerative Delay specifically includes foods and nutrients that medical literature and data show to be good for the brain, such as berries, beans, fish, olive oil, whole grains.
One needs to understand the facts first to understand dementia care in India. The awareness is gradually spreading among the people and they have started exploring new ways to take care of their elders, especially the ones who are suffering from diseases like dementia.
Nema Care offers a specialized service for dementia patients. It has trained attendants and nurses, and they provide dementia care in India in a home-like environment.