Dementia 'The long goodbye’

 The heartbreaking challenges of dementia are a daily reality for many older adults and their families. Symptoms of dementia include a gradual loss of memory and a decline in language and problem-solving skills to the point a person is unable to perform everyday activities or live on their own. 

Dementia may be related to several disorders that cause abnormal brain changes, with Alzheimer's disease responsible for 60 to 80 percent of cases.

Currently, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's, and the number is projected to reach nearly 14 million in the next 30 years.

Alzheimer's disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. People age 65 and older survive an average of 4 to 8 years after diagnosis, but due to the slow and uncertain progression of the condition, some people may live up to 20 years with Alzheimer's. And though dementia typically affects people over 65, this serious mental decline is not a normal part of aging.

If you notice one or more signs of dementia in yourself or another person, don't ignore them. You can use the Alzheimer's Association's warning signs worksheet to document any symptoms and discuss them with your doctor.

Alzheimer's and dementia symptoms:

Poor judgment and decision-making Inability to manage a budget Losing track of the date or the season Difficulty having a conversation Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them

Typical age-related behavioral changes:

Making a bad decision once in a while Missing a monthly payment Forgetting which day it is and remembering it later Sometimes forgetting which word to use Losing things from time to time

Diagnosis and treatment:

Health care providers have a number of ways to measure a person's cognitive abilities and assess what is likely normal aging versus the first signs of dementia. They can also help identify when memory loss might be linked to treatable causes like depression or sleep disorders. 

Although there is no cure for progressive forms of dementia like Alzheimer's, there may be ways to alleviate some of the symptoms and help people maintain normal activities for as long as possible. 

These include: 

• Taking prescription medications called cholinesterase inhibitors 

• Maintaining healthy sleep patterns

• Eating a healthy diet

• Getting regular exercise 

• Cognitive stimulation and socialization


Herbal or alternative remedies may also promise certain benefits but should only be used in consultation with your doctor.

Tips for caregivers:

Caring for a loved one with dementia is difficult, and nearly 60 percent of caregivers rate the emotional stress as high or very high. The Alzheimer's Association has the following suggestions for managing common behavior changes related to dementia.

Six in 10 people with dementia will wander. Reassure the person if they feel lost, abandoned, or disoriented. Plan and stick to a daily routine to build the structure. Keep car keys out of sight and use 

devices that signal when a door or window is opened.

Aggression and anger:

Try to identify if they are in pain or what might have triggered the behavior. Be positive and reassuring. Call 911 in emergency situations. If the person is in a safe environment and you are able, walk away and take a moment for yourself.

Memory loss and confusion:

As memory loss becomes more severe, a person may not recognize family members or locations. Stay calm and try not to take it personally. Use photographs and other thought-provoking items to remind the person of important relationships and places

Anxiety and agitation:

 Find out what may be causing the agitation and try to understand. Create a calming environment and use phrases like, “You're safe here." Use art, music, or other activities to help engage the person and find outlets for their energy.

Musical memories are often preserved in Alzheimer's patients because those brain areas are largely unaffected by the disease.


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation.


Copyright @ 2013 KrobKnea.

Designed by Next Learn | My partner