If they are in good health and living independently, their caregivers may not feel any dramatic changes.
Aging is a natural phenomenon which includes growth and maturity of the body and in this process, many physical and psychological changes take place.
People in their silver years may become dependent and need a lot of care and attention from their family and loved ones.
On the other hand, if the person becomes a victim of age-related illnesses like dementia, the family must take over and improve their quality of living.
Fast facts on dementia
- There are an estimated 47.5 million or more dementia sufferers worldwide
- Dementia mostly affects older age people but is not a normal part of aging
- One new case of dementia is diagnosed every 4 – 5 seconds
Signs and symptoms/Basics of Dementia
Dementia is an illness characterized by deterioration in cognitive function beyond what might be expected from normal aging.
Dementia is one of the main reasons that seniors lose their independence. Being aware of the signs of early dementia may allow you to recognize the symptoms. Early diagnosis can assist you in getting help and accessing treatment for your loved one. Early symptoms also depend on the type of dementia and can vary from person to person.
There could be a lot of challenges in getting your parents to the doctor, gaining their cooperation, convincing them to do their day-to-day chores, and communicating with them.
Even though you know your loved one’s dementia behaviours are symptoms of a disease and not intentional, dealing with them is often emotionally and physically challenging.
Here are few early and common symptoms signs of dementia
- Increasing confusion
- Problems in concentration
- Personality or behavior changes
- Loss of ability to do everyday tasks
- Problem-related to memory, mostly remembering recent events
- Loss of interest in activities and depression in some cases Anger
Usually, people fail to recognize that these symptoms and mistakenly assume that such behavior is a normal part of the aging process.
Symptoms of dementia:-
Symptoms may also develop gradually and go unnoticed for a long time. Also, people may refuse to act, even when they know something is wrong.
- Short-term memory loss – a sign of this might be asking the same question repeatedly.
- Not able to complete familiar tasks – for example, making a drink or cooking a meal.
- Communication problem – difficulty with language; forgetting simple words or using the wrong ones.
- Disorientation – getting lost on a previously familiar street, for example.
- Misplacing things – forgetting the location of everyday items such as keys, or wallets, for example.
- Quick mood changes – sudden and unexplained changes in outlook or disposition.
- Changes in Personality – perhaps becoming irritable, suspicious, or fearful.
- Loss of initiative-showing less interest in starting something or going somewhere.
- Abstract thinking problem – for instance, dealing with money.
- Noticing potential signs of dementia can be stressful in some cases.
These medicines suggested by the Doctors :
- Donepezil (Aricept)
- Rivastigmine (Exelon)
- Galantamine (Razadyne, Razadyne ER, Reminyl)
- (Take all the medicine with the concern of doctors)
Side effects were seen in dementia
Most people don’t have side effects when they take cholinesterase inhibitors, but some do have:
- Loss of appetite
- Bowel movements
- Muscle cramps
Here are tips for the caregivers to deal with a dementia patient
1. Ask simple, answerable questions: Ask them one question at a time which is simple, and give them time to respond. Refrain from asking open-ended questions.
2. Laughter helps: Laughter is therapeutic for most people. Laughter can help them in relieving stress. Laughter can also help you let go of the pressure you are under as your loved one’s caretaker.
3. Don’t fire questions at the senior or ask complicated questions: Do not ask back to back and complicated questions to them. Treat them like a kid and give them their time and space to respond.
4. Avoid distractions when communicating with your parent: Try to find a place and time to talk when there aren’t a lot of distractions present around. This will allow your loved ones to focus their mind on the conversation.
5. Focus on the positives: Discuss with them what activities they can still do independently. Perhaps they are still able to prepare their meals or do the laundry. List all the normal activities they can manage, but then have them tell you what is starting to become more difficult, like paying the bills or climbing stairs. If they can admit some problem areas, then you may be able to reach a compromise.
6. Evaluate your attitude: As a caregiver, you need to understand the problems of your loved ones and not show your frustration while you are with them even if they resist help. It is common to get frustrated sometimes but do not even show it through your body language. Many caregivers are not aware of the power of non-verbal communication even with dementia patients.
7. Pay attention: You need to pay extra attention to keep an eye on their symptoms and progress. As soon as you can identify changes in the behavior, you will be able to deal with them properly.
8. Listen more than you talk: Listen to them more than you talk. This will help you in understanding what is bothering them and making them stubborn. Sometimes you will have to read between the lines
9. Physical exercise: Research shows that being active can slow down brain ageing. Exercising regularly can stimulate blood circulation to the brain. Helping the person your care for with a daily workout for at least 20 minutes can result in giving them clarity and bringing their surroundings into greater focus. Keeping a family member with dementia calm can go a long way in improving their quality of life as well as yours.
Caretakers should remember that while being responsible for the constant care of an aging loved one can be difficult, if handled with compassion, it can be a bonding experience for both. Consult your doctor immediately if you see any of the above symptoms for medical help.