The word "Dementia" refers to a wide range of medical conditions; it is not a single disease. Abnormal brain changes can cause different disorders which are grouped under "Dementia". Aging causes mental decline. Dementia is one of the conditions, which is the result of aging.
However, if dementia is diagnosed on time, then it could be treated easily. Some symptoms develop with time gradually, and no one pays attention to them. If you recognize these earliest symptoms in someone in your family, then you should be concerned. Taking them to the doctor on time will help them recover from dementia. There are some symptoms that you should keep in mind.
1. Confusion with time or place
This is one of the common symptoms that a person can experience. A person with dementia is often perplexed about time and place. They don't know where they are, and they ask about the time constantly. Even if you have told them about time and place, they will still ask you the same.
However, this symptom gets worse with time, and they keep repeating the same question, "What time is it?" or "Is it time to sleep?" Some people blame memory for this symptom, but it is not valid. It is itself an early symptom of dementia.
2. Problems with short-term memory
People with dementia can't remember anything that has just happened, or you can say that they can't remember the recent past. If you ask them, "What did you eat last night?" They won't be able to answer your question since they won't be able to concentrate on one thought. This is the sign of dementia; this could lead to some other grave symptoms as well. That's why you should pay attention to this.
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks
You can observe that a dementia patient cannot do familiar or simple tasks. This is also an early symptom, as well. For instance, if you notice your grandma that she cannot make her favorite pie or she adds wrong ingredients, then it means that she is having some abnormal changes in her brain. Finding difficulty in completing a familiar task can be a symptom of dementia, and you should consider it seriously.
These are the earliest symptoms of dementia, and now we are going to discuss some common causes of dementia.
Damage to brain cells causes dementia. Brain cells of different regions of the brain can be damaged, and they cause different types of medical conditions in an individual. For instance, when brain cells of Hippocampus get damaged, they cause memory loss, and it is considered as a cause of Alzheimer's. Some other causes may include depression, thyroid problems, excessive use of alcohol, vitamin deficiencies and medication side effects also cause dementia as well.
There is no particular test that diagnoses dementia because it is not a single disease, as we have told you in the beginning. Doctors look for mental abnormalities to diagnose dementia. Patient's mental health can only determine if the person has dementia or not.
There are some tests which help in diagnosing dementia, and these are as follows:
- Neurological Exam
- Brain Imaging
- Mental status Tests
Cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine (Namenda) are commonly prescribed medicines for dementia. However, CBD products are also considered to be effective in the treatment of dementia. Cannabis is also beneficial in dementia, and some suggest that lemon OG can be used to make dementia's symptoms better. It is an Indica-dominant hybrid from Apothecary Genetics.
Tips and advice:
If someone in your family has been diagnosed with dementia, then you should take good care of them. There are some tips and pieces of advice that you should keep in mind.
Avoid a confrontational stance
You shouldn't stand in front of them because it will make them uncomfortable. You should be supportive of them. You can give them your shoulder so they can hold on to it. Standing too close to their face will also frustrate them. If you want to take good care of them, then you should be polite and gentle to them.
Offer your hand
Instead of pulling the arm of the patient, you should offer your hand to them so they can grab it. It will give them a sense of security as well, and they can be happy. It does not matter if they are sick; what matters is their happiness. If they are happy, then they will let you help them; otherwise, they will get frustrated.
Don't approach from the front
Whenever you are going to talk to them, you should approach them from the front. They will be frightened if you are approaching from behind since they won't know who is behind them. One thing you should keep in mind that they are compassionate, and they can be offended and frightened easily.
A caretaker shouldn't be a family member
Some people think that a close family member or spouse can be a good caretaker, which is not true. You can take care of them whenever you want to, but you should hire someone as a caretaker for them. If a family member is taking care constantly, then it will become a hectic job for them. A tired and exhausted person cannot take care of a patient. This is why you should arrange a caretaker for them.
Keep communication short and simple
We have told you already that dementia patients are confused about time and place, and they have trouble with short-term memory. Now you should keep this thing in your mind that you have to communicate with them in simple and clear words. You cannot ask them about yesterday because they will get frustrated quickly, and they could be angry as well.
Don't ask questions that challenge the short-term memory
You shouldn't ask complicated questions to a person who has been diagnosed with dementia. It will be challenging for them, and they cannot process a thought properly. You should ask them closed-ended questions such as, "Do you want to eat this?" or "Please sit on the blue chair, can you?" These questions will be easy for them to answer, and it will not require any energy.
Celebrate their little achievements
You should celebrate their little achievements. For instance, if they have completely eaten their meal, you should praise them for doing it. It will make them happy, and they can recover from intense symptoms of the disorder. Keeping dementia patients happy can be very positive for their mental health.
These tips and advice you should keep in your mind if someone in your family is affected by dementia or if you are taking care of them.
Jack is a psychotherapist and neurodegenerative disorders expert. He has been practicing in New York for 25 years now, and since then he has been fighting to make marijuana legal in the United States for it comes with numerous health benefits. You can read his blogs at https://thegreenace.ca/.
We can Help! Our local advisors can help your family make a confident decision about senior living.