Often perceived as a disease, Dementia is in fact, not one. Instead, it’s a group of symptoms that affects memory loss and can either be caused by brain disease or some injury to the brain. It is one of the most chronic and most common brain ailments and is entirely irreversible. It can be reversible in some sporadic cases when the cause of dementia is any sort of substance or depression. Early signs of dementia can be useful as well. In those cases as well, it can happen only if, it is diagnosed and treated with specific medication and care at the early stage.
One of the most common causes of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which is categorized by memory loss, chronic hypertension leading to stroke and, severe head injury along with certain neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Sometimes it is hereditary, and this condition is more likely to affect those below 50 years of age. There are more than one million cases of Alzheimer’s disease in India as of today and can often be seen for early signs of dementia.
Dementia is a progressive disease of the brain, where the brain cells degenerate and die. In this entire process, they end up destroying many important mental functions of the brain. Neurologists, conduct certain tests to assess the patient`s level of memory impairment, and functional abilities and identify behavioural changes in them. Studies have shown that the most prominent reasons and causes of Alzheimer’s disease are:
- Some environmental factors
- Your lifestyle
How Can You Identify Early Signs Of Dementia?
On the surface of it, the onset of some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s can act as early signs of dementia and can help you identify it. Some of those symptoms are:
- Loss of memory
- A mental state of constant and persistent confusion
- Inability in terms of learning new things
- Problems with reading and writing
- Shortened attention span
- Difficulty in thinking logically
- Misplacing objects in everyday life or forgetting about them altogether
- Changes in personality and behaviours as observed by near and dear ones
- Decrease in the person’s socialising in everyday life
- Facing trouble speaking or expressing their thoughts in a lucid manner
- Poor hygiene
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. But with timely and regular medication for dementia care, you can delay the onset and control the symptoms that lead to rapid degeneration of the brain. Often used interchangeably, identifying the early signs of dementia, symptoms, treatment, as well as care offered, are often the same. Dementia usually affects seniors in the age group of 65 years and above and in some rare cases even in 50 years if it is in the genes.
On the other hand, the early signs of dementia as well as otherwise, to name a few, are:
- Memory loss
- Disorientation in terms of time and place
- Inability to speak or understand language
- Making up stories
- Mood swings and imbalances
- Persistent or even erratic irritability
- Changes in the personality
- Behavioural changes
- Triggers pertaining to anxiety
- Feeling of loneliness.
How Can You Detect It?
It’s worth mentioning almost all these symptoms, especially the early signs of dementia can be recognized by oneself or the caregiver undertaking your dementia care. One must seek help as soon as possible for dementia care as delaying doesn’t help. Once a certified doctor assesses the condition, a diagnosis is made. It includes
- The doctor takes the basic medical history
- Basic and advanced scans, and blood tests such as various neurological tests
- Imaging scans like CT and MRI
- Simple thyroid hormone test for detecting underactive thyroid, one must begin therapy.
- Blood tests too, detect vitamin deficiency such as Vitamin B12, a complete blood count is measured and any other infection in the body is ruled out of address.
- Seniors who are Diabetic, or have any auto-immune deficiency and HIV/ AIDS may need additional interventions or tests such as a lumbar puncture test.
- An EEG is conducted to assess unusual brain activity and a pet scan is to help identify several forms of dementia.
- Later, if and when a senior passes away, an autopsy is conducted to find out the causes of dementia.
Therefore, for the reasons mentioned above, it is crucial for seniors to get their monthly, yearly or regular checkups as advised by their doctors on a regular basis as a part of their dementia care. This is important so that the onset of dementia, right from early signs of dementia are detected can be addressed in time and the senior and family can learn to cope with it well in advance and make the lifestyle changes necessary. Often a psychologist may be involved in this process too and may do a few psychometric tests in order to confirm and gain access to certain cognitive abilities.
He /She may ask the senior to do simple daily tasks like combing the hair, wearing a t-shirt or repeating a series of names, or numbers or drawing something. Often, under dementia care, psychiatric evaluations are also conducted to determine whether there is any form of depression or other psychiatric disorders that is responsible for causing or corroborating dementia.
There are some extreme warning signs of dementia as well. Some of them are
- Severe memory loss
- Finding difficulty performing familiar daily living tasks
- Misplacing things
- Facing language problems and difficulty in conversing or socialising
The risk of dementia can be lowered or prevented in time by making some tweaks and changes in your lifestyle as a part of dementia care. This can be started right from spotting the early signs of dementia. Some of the tips for the same are:
- Taking a healthy and balanced that is very high in nutrition content as a part of dementia care with green leafy vegetables, fish, good proteins, nuts, and whole grains
- Drinking water in plentiful quantities and regularly
- Reducing your alcohol intake
- Never consuming harmful drugs
- Regular exercises as they help us build strong bones, a healthy heart and get better blood circulation. All of this also aids in weight loss which is again essential to stay healthy in the long run
- Not smoking
- keeping the blood sugar and pressure normal at all times is crucial too
If you notice the above-mentioned changes like any early signs of dementia in a loved one, dementia may be to blame. Make haste and take action for dementia care asap! It can be prevented.
How Protribe Can Help You With It
We, at Protribe Smart Wellness for Seniors, are committed to helping you in your time of need with dementia care. Our home care services can help the seniors and caregivers of dementia care during this time such as home nursing services and home attendant services which can be round the clock. These nurses are well-trained and are able to manage the condition well. Some of our services are:
- We offer to counsel to the caregiver, services like sound healing, meditation, yoga, wellness and social and recreational services as well under dementia care.
- We have psychologists and psychiatrists who work with the patient and family close by and dieticians and nutritionists as well who help with daily meal plans.
- We offer physiotherapy sessions and special memory care packages that include services like assisting the seniors to the hospital for their checkups too.
- We provide home diagnostic test facilities for some blood tests too.
- We have partnered with a short-term facility that provides long and short-term stays as well if the caregiver is travelling and the senior needs assistance.
- We will be soon launching a daycare centre as well for the seniors to come to spend time and also enjoy some recreational activities.
ProTribe Seniors believe in helping with the overall day-to-day management of dementia elderly care, including medication management, condition improvement and overall safety of the senior during this time. Our cognitive and non-cognitive therapies are customized and designed for seniors as a part of the elderly care services at home. Lastly, our new program, the Buddy System, aligns a senior with a young student or professional who will engage with the senior regularly, do check-ins through the phone or visits and socialize with him or her as per the senior`s needs. This program aims at support, friendship and companionship, especially for those seniors whose family members are living away.. but we are just a phone call away!