Supporting Your Loved Ones – A Different Perspective on Dementia
Remember the movie, Uri? While the movie is mostly remembered for India’s befitting reply to Pakistan for an unprovoked attack, there is something else that stands out. Vicky Kaushal’s Major Vihaan Singh Shergill wants an early retirement since he wants to take care of his mother who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease which is also known as senile dementia. Despite hiring a nurse, one morning, his mother goes missing and is found under a bridge after an extensive search.
Though this is a movie, but the real-life for people with dementia is not very different. As we know, dementia is a term used for the symptoms that occur when there is a progressive decline in brain function. Dementia impacts memory and the other abilities of a person such as language, memory, thinking ability, and the ability to solve problems. In India, more than 5.3 million people have some or the other form of dementia. Most of them live with their families who are sometimes even unaware of the problem until it is too late.
The modern-day lifestyle
Life in the twenty-first century is not easy. Rising inflation, burgeoning costs of living, life on a fast lane, constant stress & strain impacts not just the physical but also the mental health of every family. In a home where the husband and wife have to not only raise their children in the best possible manner but also cater to all their needs and demands and also meet their professional commitments and deadlines, it becomes difficult to deal with a parent or elder afflicted with dementia. In this disease, the brain cells and nerve cells die a slow death and different areas of the brain start shrinking. This in turn causes memory loss due to which the patient loses the ability to remember the very basic information about themselves. Their ability to interact with people or handle normal situations is severely impacted too.
A path of no return
The onset of dementia generally involves three stages. The patient starts forgetting names or things in the first stage. There are times; the patient starts losing his way in places that are very familiar to him. He loses the track of time too. In the second stage, the patient starts forgetting the people around him and recent events. Communication becomes very difficult with even the closest family members. Many times patients wander off on their own and keep questioning everything. In the third stage, the patient becomes dependent on the people around him for the smallest of activities. Many of them typically face difficulty in walking too.
Tender loving care
Despite the considerable advances in medical science, there is no known cure for dementia. After its onset, dementia follows a progressive course that can seldom be altered. The next best thing that can be done in such a scenario is to aim for early diagnosis so that the condition can be managed as optimally as possible. It is also important to constantly review the patient’s cognition, physical health, well-being, and activities. Constant care can help patients to detect and cure many physical illnesses that may result due to lowered immunity.
Impact on loved ones
Dementia is no doubt a debilitating health disorder. Once it sets in, there is no cure. In such a scenario, the family of the patient is unable to help the patient. The disease not only takes a toll on the physical and mental health of the patient but also impacts the physical, emotional, financial health of the entire family. Due to a lack of extended family support, it is often the children who need to take care of their parents and also fend for their spouse and their own children. There is a sense of helplessness within the family which causes a lot of strain and even some sort of guilt complex.
A different perspective
As Indians, we have always been taught to love and support their parents no matter what. While a very noble thought, it becomes difficult for a working couple to work, manage their children, parents, or in-laws. As much as they would like to be with their parents in such a difficult time, they also have to lead their day to day lives. Trusting daily helpers or people untrained in aspects of elderly care is also not possible.
In such cases, it is a good idea to send the parents to an elder-home that ensures comprehensive health care. Earlier these kinds of facilities only existed in countries like the USA and UK. But now with facilities like Nema Elder Care, the elders can be well cared for with all the amenities close by. The children can visit their parents from time to time. They can also login to the camera to know about their parents’ health and wellbeing.
Dementia is not an easy condition to deal with. To know the parents who were responsible for bringing you into this world will no longer recognize you is a heart-wrenching realization. The issue here is not about whether or not you can take care of your parents at home. The question is whether you can give them the kind of care they need in this condition. Keeping your parents with you while you are busy with your work, life and children will be counterproductive to their health and wellbeing. They have their own needs and facilities like Nema Elder Care will help in fulfilling it. It will help them to pass their remaining time in peace and tranquility rather than in trauma and stress.