Dementia is a complete loss of mental capabilities which can result in loss of memory, changes in personality as well as loss of social skills. Dementia is not a regular part of aging, and most people never develop it. It’s caused by stages which are damaging thoughts, memory, making conclusions and language. There are many similar conditions to count, some being more frequent than others like diseases and infections which have an effect on the brain like Alzheimer’s or meningitis. Dementia is most common with people over 60. About 6 in 100 people above 65 years of age will develop dementia, with this number rising to 20 in 100 people when you monitor people above 85 years of age. It can develop in younger age groups as well, but rarely, since only 1 person out of 1000 younger than 65 develops it.
There are multiple types of dementia, all of which are causing similar symptoms. These are:
- Confusion – the person is easily confused with new people, new environment or any kind of challenges. Sometimes, people with dementia lose track of time and can’t even distinguish time of the day.
- Mood swings – as dementia develops, the patient can become either aggressive or mad. Patient loses his or hers normal inhibitions and will often say or do inappropriate things. Sometimes this may even include erratic sexual behavior.
- Loss of memory – often, people with dementia will have troubles remembering recent events, while far past may be remembered more easily. For an example, the patient can forget where he or she lives. As it develops, even the oldest memories may fade.
- Loss of interest – as dementia develops, people can lose their interest for the world and what happens around them. Simple tasks such as hygiene and self-care can be ignored as they lose life enthusiasm.
Most types show early signs of dementia, which can be easily recognized as any kind of erratic behavior. Most of these can be treated with surgery, if the dementia has been caused by head trauma; in other case, dementias caused with a lack of vitamins can be treated with food additives.
The development cycle of dementia can’t be determined and depends on the person and what type of dementia it is. Environment plays an important role here, where proper care and understanding is required in order to slow down the process rather than accelerate it. People in later phases of dementia become fragile and more dependent on other people.
Care for Dementia Patients
To be the one responsible for caring about dementia patient can be a very stressful period, especially if the patient is a member of the family. It can be rather frustrating and traumatic. Equally, the person you are trying to take care of can become agitated due to loss of general independence. These are all normal reactions, so it’s important to focus on rational discussion about the problem, trying to motivate the patient to have a reasonable discussion rather than dramatic and violent verbal solutions.