The term dementia doesn’t refer to a single disease. Rather, it’s the name given to set of symptoms and behaviors associated with memory loss, reduced attention span, and complex cognitive disorders. Dementia affects around 800,000 people in the UK and is more common in people over 65 years of age. It’s usually incurable and progressive, however, in cases of traumatic brain injury, static forms of dementia can occur.
Typically, family and friends will be the first to notice symptoms of dementia and may include increasing forgetfulness, anxiety and other mood changes, or personality changes. A definitive diagnosis is made by a doctor after performing a series of assessments including a brain scan.
Dementia can be distressing for both the patient and their loved ones, but with support, treatment plans, and daily living aides, it can be easier.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Early, accurate diagnosis is key to finding appropriate treatments for dementia. In addition, early diagnosis ensures the patient is still able to make decisions regarding their treatment and other arrangements while still of sound mind. Also, in some cases, the patient may discover they’re not suffering from dementia but from another treatable illness.
Once diagnosed, the patient’s doctor can prescribe a variety of medications to help ease symptoms. As an adjunctive measure the patient and loved ones can pursue support groups to gain perspective and reduce feelings of isolation and stress.
Dementia is often comorbid with other conditions and on its own still impacts almost every aspect of daily life. There are a wide variety of assistive devices that can make daily life easier for those with dementia.
Eating and Drinking
Sometimes people with dementia have difficulty eating or drinking on their own. A variety of devices exist to help people maintain their independence. Some examples include shatterproof crockery, non-spill cups, and clothing protectors.
Sadly, many people with dementia suffer from incontinence. Fortunately, there are many products on the market to help reduce the impact of this symptom. Items such as bed pads, washable bed protectors, discreet panties, and other hygiene accessories all help patients with dementia retain their dignity.
Memory loss can be extremely frustrating. Even something as simple as making a phone call can become incredibly difficult. Items such as pictorial phones, wireless object finders, safety plugs for the bath and shower, clocks that indicate daytime and nighttime, and pendants that issue verbal reminders can all help someone with dementia live more independently.
Keeping the mind active is one of the best ways to reduce the effects of dementia and retain as much memory as possible for as long as possible. Stimulating games and activities are one of the best ways to engage the mind. Check out reminiscence aides, group activities, and arts and crafts products to help develop memory. Items such as automatic pill dispensers can help those with existing memory loss stay on track with their treatment.
Often, those with dementia have a tendency to wander. They’re likely to leave a safe environment without anyone being aware of it. To keep patients with dementia safe without making them feel trapped, wander control systems such as motion sensor devices, CCTV, bed sensors, pagers, and door and window alarms can be used.
Combined with doctor care and other care takers if needed, assistive devices can help those with dementia retain their independence and dignity as long as possible