Dementia

It’s common knowledge that as people grow older, senility slow begins to set in. Many older people have a slight loss of memory that does not affect their daily lives, but memory loss that worsens with time may be a sign of Dementia.

Dementia is a loss of brain function that occurs with certain diseases and adversely affects memory, thinking, language, judgment, and behavior. When a family member begins to show signs of Dementia, it can be extremely hard on everyone involved. Dementia affects the brain by slowly impairing a person’s thought process until they are unable to care for themselves.

Causes of Dementia

Dementia affects about 1% of people aged 60-64 years and as many as 30-50% of people older than 85 years, and it is the leading reason for placing elderly people in nursing homes. Dementia is a disease that is biologically onset by a destruction of brain cells which could be attributed to a head injury, stroke or other onset medical problem like Alzheimer’s disease. Substance abusers may also have a greater chance of experiencing dementia later in life.

Symptoms of Dementia

Symptoms of dementia vary from person to person depending on the triggering cause and the area of the brain that is affected. Memory loss is usually the earliest and most noticeable symptom, however other common symptoms include:

  • Having difficulty recalling recent events.
  • Not recognizing familiar people and places.
  • Having trouble finding the right words to express thoughts or name objects.
  • Having difficulty performing calculations.
  • Having problems planning and carrying out tasks, such as balancing a checkbook, following a recipe, or writing a letter.
  • Having trouble exercising judgment, such as knowing what to do in an emergency.
  • Having difficulty controlling moods or behaviors. Depression is common, and agitation or aggression may occur.
  • Not keeping up personal care such as grooming or bathing.

Treatment of Dementia

Family members are crucial in easing the pain of this debilitating disorder. It is important that they are informed on the ins and outs of the disease in order to better provide care and mentally prepare themselves for the times to follow. They are also encouraged to speak with their doctor and educate themselves on the proper medicines available that can treat some of the symptoms of the disease. Medicinal treatment of most types of dementia cannot halt or reverse the effects of the disorder; however some forms of dementia can be reversed if caught at an early stage. Catching dementia early can be difficult, as the progression is very slight and memory lapse can be easily unnoticed or hidden from family and friends. Medicine may be able to improve various aspects of a sufferer’s personality and slow the overall progression of the disease. Other alternative treatments like the introduction of memory aids (notes, rhyming, etc) have also been implemented and have proven to have moderate success.

If you have a loved one who is suffering through dementia, it may be in your best interest to speak with a doctor. You should discuss your options for treatment or medication and prepare yourself to provide proper care for the person. Dementia is hard on everyone involved, but by making yourself aware of the situation you will be able to spare some of the pain and find a way to enjoy each day together.

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