Dementia 101

Dementia: A usually progressive condition (as Alzheimer's disease) marked by deteriorated cognitive functioning often with emotional apathy.  To many this is a terrifying diagnosis.  True Alzheimer’s Disease begins at an early age (50’s) while Dementia typically occurs in the elderly. AD actually is just one of many diseases that can cause dementia. Other conditions are Vascular dementia, Dementia with Lewy body’s, Parkinson’s disease, Progressive supranuclear palsy…and more.  In the past, it was called Hardening of the arteries, Atherosclerosis, Old Age, Senile Dementia.

What are some early symptoms of AD?  1. Misplaced keys, glasses or other items; 2. Look up a recipe but are unable to follow it; 3. Start something and forget to finish it; 4. Difficulty with numbers/paying bills/writing the correct amount on a check/mailing the bills; and many others. 

What are some do’s and don’ts for dealing with dementia?  Some do’s: be flexible; spend time with them; keep trips short and simple; enjoy the moments…  Some don’ts: Don’t take good or bad behavior personally; don’t raise your voice or scold the person as you would a child; don’t argue, correct or try to reason with them…to name a few.

For more complete help go to YouTube: Biblical Caregiving and listen to the session on Dementia.

REMEMBER:  The changes in how they act are caused by brain damage.  They cannot control how they act. It is part of the disease.