3 Ways to Help Manage Dementia

Dementia is a type of illness that deals with memory loss, a decline in brain and cognitive function. There are nine different types of dementia: Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body Dementia, Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, Huntington’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, normal pressure hydrocephalus, and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Not all forms of dementia are curable. If anything, the treatment of dementia focuses on the symptoms – excessive forgetfulness, disorientation, and mood swings are controlled instead.

Considering the large scope of the illness and the treatment being a combination of medication and lifestyle, dementia care at home is a popular choice. They take care of the domestic and social aspect of the illness. There are three ways to help improve the emotional and mental state of an individual with dementia.

Therapy

Therapy is encouraged, especially those that carry their interests such as music, art, or gardening. Two popular types of therapy treatments are the cognitive stimulation therapy (CST) and behavioural therapy. CST involves exercising the brain through memory training and problem-solving. This may also include activities and games that help facilitate mental stimulation such as chess and origami.

Behavioural therapy is twice as effective as antipsychotic drugs in treating symptoms of depression and anxiety. It is facilitated by the people close to the patient, family or a carer, and they tackle the triggers. This is encouraged; as much as possible, carers are discouraged from relying on antianxiety drugs or sleeping pills.

Established routines

People with dementia show signs of improvement when they have a consistent routine and with special events scheduled ahead of time. It takes away unpredictable, and possibly triggering, events. This stability helps them maintain their independence and dignity, which is the heart of care service.

It is also helpful to have external reminders to indicate what needs to happen, for example, an alarm for medicine or a calendar for events. External reminders help prevent confusion and disorientation which are also symptoms of dementia.

Controlled environment

A controlled environment helps as much as having an established routine. It is best when they are living in a place that they are familiar with, this is why home care is very popular. Other environment modifications include removing sources of loud noise, poor lighting, glare, harsh colours and patterns which could trigger and agitate the symptoms of dementia.

Living a good life despite the challenges dementia presents is all about taking away the unnecessary and the overly complicated. They have to be around people who are patient and familiar to ensure that their needs, preferences, and habits are taken into account. They should live with minimal stress and with a healthy outlet to vent their emotions. While there is no way to recover the damage caused by the decline, these steps help prevent it from slipping any further and possibly causing harm to the individual in the future.

Live in care fulfils all the three requirements, with carers who are trained to properly address the needs of the patient. When the family cannot properly create the same kind of constancy and stability, it is in the best interest of the patient to seek alternative care or extra support.

Dee Jones