Dementia refers to a variety of diseases that affect the brain. It causes a decline in their level of functioning and thinking. This risk of getting dementia increases as one gets older but it is not a part of normal aging.
Dementia can make a person’s life difficult but is manageable with appropriate medications and support. It is important to get it diagnosed at the right stage, and the sooner the better.
Alzheimer’s is the most common type of Dementia. Other types include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and alcohol-related dementia.
Dementia is a progressive disease that affects individuals in many different ways. The most commonly affected functional areas are:
· Memory loss (particularly short term)
· Lack of attentiveness
· Confused state of mind
· inability to decide
· lack of planning ability
· Changes in emotion
· Reduced stress tolerance
· Lack of orientation
· Rapid mood swings
The range of affected areas is an indication of the total impact of dementia. It not only affects the individual but also the people around them. Dementia care is a serious challenge for care attendants and health professionals.
Think of the people around you and observe if anyone is suffering from forgetfulness, mood swings, lack of concentration, planning or judgment. These are the signs of dementia. The immediate action is to consult a neurologist. He can examine your loved one’s medical history, get a laboratory test and psychiatric evaluation, genetic test, or arrange a brain scan such as CT, MRI or EEG. A correct diagnosis will help families access the right treatment and support.
Treatment of Dementia is a myth! It transitions from one stage to the next, totaling seven. However, the rate of progress can be slowed with proper management of the condition by the right health care professionals.
Many people ask if dementia can be treated with medications or by providing care for a few months, will their loved ones be back to normal life. It requires a lot of counseling to help family members understand & accept the condition of their loved ones.
Medications do work in symptoms such as anxiety and sleep disorder, a part of dementia. While administering these medicines, one needs to be cautious of the side effects and possible interactions with other medications. The best treatment of someone with dementia is love, care, and support from their family members, relatives and people around.
Care and support must also be extended to those who care for someone with dementia. It is not easy and requires a lot of patience, compassion & empathy.