Picture two different families, each dealing with a diagnosis of dementia in one of its members. In one case, the patient is a retired executive, whose family tries as long as possible to keep the diagnosis secret, relying primarily on professional caregivers and eventually a nursing home. In another case, the patient is a grandmother. As soon as the diagnosis is suspected, her family pulls together, bringing her into their home and surrounding her with affection.
These two approaches to dementia reflect very different attitudes toward the disease. One regards it as an irreversible neurologic condition associated with considerable stigma, a problem best left to health professionals and kept out of public view. While not denying that dementia is a medical condition, the other seizes on it as an opportunity to draw together around a loved one in need, giving family members not a secret to keep but an opportunity to care.
If we tend not only to our neurons but also our intellects, characters, and relationships, there is good reason to think that we can lighten dementia’s burden and make the most of the opportunities to care for those living with it.
VASCULAR dementia is a cruel disease estimated to affect around 150,000 people in the UK. Symptoms can often be confused with the usual effects of old age, but there are signs to look out for which could help you to detect the disease early. Here are six of them.
Vascular dementia is a common type of dementia caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, which damages and eventually kills the brain cells.
The symptoms can come on suddenly or gradually, and tend to get worse over time, but it is sometimes possible to slow this down though treatment.
According to the NHS, there are six mild early signs of vascular dementia.
- Significant slowness of thought
- Feeling disorientated and confused
- Memory loss and difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty finding the right words
- Severe personality changes, such as becoming aggressive
- Depression, mood swings and lack of interest or enthusiasm
- Finding it difficult to walk and keep balance, with frequent falls
- Loss of bladder control (incontinence)
- Increasing difficulty with daily activities
Things to look for outside vehicle
- The individual becomes disorientated or lost in familiar surroundings
- Needs reminding about personal care
- Decreased co-ordination
- Mood swings, irritability
- Difficulty in multi-tasking
- Difficulty judging space and/or distance
- Difficulty with decision-making
Things to look for inside vehicle while driving
- Driving too slowly
- Lack of distance judgment
- Stops for no reason
- Lost on a familiar route
- Drifts into wrong or different lane
- Poor parking
- Fails to signal, or does so incorrectly
- Forgets rules of the road
People living with #dementia often suffer from isolation. But a nursing professor from the University of Victoria has been working to change that.
Dr. Debra Sheets is the lead researcher for a Victoria choir that began in January called Voices in Motion. It is for people with dementia and their family caregivers. High school students from St. Andrew’s Regional High School and Pacific Christian School in Victoria also participate.
Doctors exploring how music benefits health.
Sheets found that choir participants with #dementia as well as their caregivers showed some improvement in their ability to recall words from a list.
“The neat thing about music is it taps into a part of your #brain that’s often not touched as much by dementia,”
For the study, both caregivers and participants with dementia agree to monthly tests administered by the researchers. These tests aim to detect changes in mood, mental functioning and psychological measures such as grip strength and respiratory strength.
“When you have #dementia, it becomes even more important to have an activity in which you participate. You become part of a community. It’s not about therapy, it’s about maintaining an identity and a sense of who you are. Where you’re not treated as someone who’s got dementia.”
Know more: https://alzheimers-dementia.pulsusconference.com/
Dementia is the 21st century’s biggest killer, with someone developing it every three minutes.
Public understanding and action have certainly improved in recent years, but there is still a long way to go.
- Dementia is not a natural part of ageing
Dementia doesn’t care how old you are. It’s caused by diseases of the brain so it’s not an inevitable part of ageing. More than 40,000 people with dementia in the UK are under 65.
- Alzheimer’s disease isn’t the only type of dementia
Diseases such as Alzheimer’s cause nerve cells to die, damaging the structure and chemistry of the brain. There are lots of other causes and no two types of dementia are the same. In different types of dementia there is damage to different parts of the brain.
- It’s not just about losing your memory
When most people hear the word dementia, they think of memory loss.
- People can still live well with dementia
Although there is no cure for dementia, scientists and researchers are working hard to find one.
The Alzheimer’s Society’s £50m investment in the UK Dementia Research Institute will accelerate discoveries to prevent, treat and care for people with all types of dementia, as well as helping them to understand how to keep the brain healthy.
- There are steps you can take today to reduce your risk of developing dementia
Getting more exercise and making healthier choices can go a long way to reducing your risk of dementia. While some things that affect your risk of dementia can’t be changed, such as your age or genes, there are many things you can change.
When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, there’s good news and there’s bad news.
The good news is that if you’re in your 70s, your risk of developing Alzheimer’s is actually lower than it was a decade or two ago. But here’s the bad news. For younger people, the unhealthy habits they’re indulging in today could give them a greater risk for dementia down the road than their grandparents face today.
Brain health, after all, is a lifelong pursuit.
“Good brain health begins in the earliest stage of childhood and has to be addressed throughout our entire lifespan,” says Dr. William Reichman, president and CEO of Baycrest Health Sciences. Unfortunately, most people come late to that message — sometimes, too late. An estimated 5.7 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. And even those who don’t have it live in dread of it. Opinion polls show that dementia has emerged as the No. 1 concern among older adults.
“Most of the people who are interested in, ‘How I can keep my brain healthy?’ are aging Baby Boomers because they’ve seen this (dementia) in their parents and grandparents,” Reichman says. “This generation is more aware and more concerned about Alzheimer’s disease than prior generations.”