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The battle of dementia

Updated on May 26, 2016

Isn’t is heart breaking to see a loved one getting entrapped in the shadow of Dementia, little by little? Specially, when you feel that there is nothing you can

Early identification of the signs of Dementia is definitely a blessing, so that proper approach can be made by timely treatments as well as by getting prepared both physically and emotionally for what the future holds.

Dementia is defined as a set of signs and symptoms which impair daily functions, ability to think, memory and social capabilities.

Reversible dementia holds account for nearly 10% which mainly affects population younger than 65 years. The potential causes for this type of dementia include, depression, vitamin B12 deficiency, hypothyroidism and neurosyphilis. Therefore, it is highly advisable for people under 65 years of age with memory impairments to be investigated for above conditions, since it can be cured by getting treated for the underlying disease.

Irreversible causes of dementia include Alzheimers disease, multi-infarct dementia, and HIV dementia.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for this type, but the good thing is it can be definitely controlled symptomatically by timely interventions.

Signs of dementia

  • Loss of memory

It is normal that people forget certain things with time or if they find them less important or uninterested. But, sufferers from dementia, tend to show inability to recall recent happenings, familiar names and routes. It is the responsibility of the family to decide if there is a change in recalling from what it used to be. However, if this impairment of memory interrupts the individual’s day to day activities, it is the point where medical evaluation should be made.

  • Difficulty in engaging in day-to-day activities

These people may gradually find it difficult to engage in certain routine activities like dressing up, grooming and having meals, which they used to do without any trouble. If the family notices any change in these habits or difficulty he seems to be having when doing certain tasks, medical advice should be seeked.

  • Problems in using the language-

People may sometimes fumble for the right word but sufferers from dementia often get aggressive when they are unable to find the right word. Initially these people may tend to forget familiar words and phrases and later they find it difficult to understand the what other people are talking. Finally they reach a point where verbal communication is completely lost and tend to communicate by facial expressions and gestures.

  • Signs of confusion-

Confusion about spatial, time, and temporal contexts will often lead to difficulty in identifying the exact place person is in at a particular moment. They will forget the directions to their home and often wander around, without being able to recall where they belong to (Spatial confusion). However, it is a matter of safety and it is advisable to keep an eye on these patients on their whereabouts. Disorientation in time and place are also commonly seen, where their routine behaviors may change in surprising ways; looking for dinner in the morning and sleeping in the middle of the day. Also, they will find it difficult to orient themselves in strange places outside home and may tend to show off inappropriate behaviors in such situations

  • Misplacing items-

It will not be surprising to find a lost wallet in the deep freezer and sweater in the oven if you live with a person affected by dementia. They often keep stuff in places which don’t make sense at all.

  • Changes in personality-

They will often develop rapid and sharp mood swings. They will be overjoyed at one moment and in a spur of a second they might become blazing mad at you. Furthermore, they can be irritable, annoyed or paranoid as well when they find it difficult to do tasks they used to do easily. However, it is advisable to calm the person down as much as possible since it can be frustrating to both parties.

  • Signs of passivity

Personal preferences might change in surprising ways. Those people may no longer want to go to places where they used enjoy in. And they might not want to meet people they used to love to have the company with. They will always try to stay in relaxed and calm environments like never before. They might sit and watch television for hours or sit near a window and stare at the vehicles moving on the road. They might no longer show interest in grooming themselves or in personal hygiene. So, it is important to accept these changes and help them to live comfortably with the condition.

Compare and decide...!!!

Last but not least, this is the most important aspect of deciding if a person has become affected with dementia. Always compare the current status of the person with what you used to know about him. Have his personality and behavior changed? Do you find his moods swing like wind? Does he say confusing stuff and seem to be annoyed from time to time like never before?

There you are! Time is very important and quick medical interventions will be valuable than gold. Refer to a doctor and get the situation sorted out.

If the diagnosis of irreversible dementia is made, it is true that there is no cure, but it will always help you to be prepared to face the future.

Yes, they will no longer be the joyful bubbly people they once were, but you can help to them to enjoy simple pleasures in life. Always show affection, attend to their needs, look in to their eyes and hold the hand. Tell them how important they are.

Give them a reason to live, because, “Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Have you been in that?

Have you ever lived with a dementia person?

How is the experience of living with a dementia person?

Understanding dementia


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