Mental Health: Old Age and Dementia

Mental Health: Old Age and Dementia

Dementia is a very common disorder among elderly people. As the age increases the brain’s ability to remember and coordinate decreases significantly. While certainly, it is a very painful process to see your loved one going through this stage there are a few things which are very important while dealing with people with dementia.

Difference between Memory Loss and Dementia:

While memory loss or forgetfulness is a common phenomenon as a result of ageing and it happens in adults also. A step ahead from forgetfulness is Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) in which a person may forget many important things in life however it doesn’t have a significant effect on the independent life or day to day activities. MCI may slowly lead to Alzheimer’s disease thought. Dementia is a medically serious condition and is a cluster of mental disorders like Alzheimer’s and others. There is considerable brain damage and the person may find it difficult to talk, forget own family members, the ability to think and judge are also severely distorted. Therefore it is very important to attend the person suffering from Dementia with great care. Since this is a disease which gradually affects the brain and memory, it is equally painful for the loved ones of the patient to see their beloved go through this phase. The caretakers and family members in such cases, therefore, need strong emotional support and therapies. There are few things which the caretakers must take care of all times:

  1. Keeping Calm: Dementia can result in many frequent mood changes and significant behavioural changes in the patient and hence it is very important for the caretakers to keep calm. Listen to the patient, keep your voice soft, reassure them.
  2. Be Patient: While we understand that it can be really frustrating and annoying at times. Find your self a place to accept your feelings, acknowledge & accept them. Spend some time alone or with friends/family members. Stay patient. Make a few changes in our routine as well as the patient’s routine to break the monotony of life.
  3. Being around the patient and ensuring their safety: People with dementia have a tendency of wandering and getting lost often. Thankfully we have advanced technology these days which can ensure our loved one’s safety at all times. Make sure they have a GPS system that you can take a track of, Know all their routes and meet with people they go out with. Inform everyone in the neighbourhood, so that they can offer help in situations of Emergency.
  4. Take Care of proper diet and regular medication
  5. Ensuring an active lifestyle with many recreational activities planned around the day.
  6. On time visits to the doctor and always keep the emergency number handy.

While Dementia is a very serious disorder, with the support of loved ones this challenge can be conquered. Accept the situation and join a group where you can share the trauma and pain. Learn from other’s experiences. All these things will help you deal with the situation in a much stronger way.