What is Dementia?
Dementia is an illness that affects the brain, leading to progressive memory loss, decline in intellectual abilities and personality changes.
3 common misconceptions of dementia:
- Dementia is just about forgetfulness
- Dementia is part and parcel of old age
- Nothing can be done to help the condition
The fact is, dementia is more than forgetfulness. It decreases a person’s ability to take care of himself. In addition to changes in personality and behaviour, it also causes problems with planning and communication.
Who gets Dementia?
It can happen to anyone! However, the risk of Dementia increases with age. It is more common in those above 60 years old.
What are the signs of Dementia?
Knowing and recognizing the signs of Dementia allow for early management. Furthermore, early detection and intervention help to delay progression of the illness.
How can you reduce the risks of Dementia?
- Build positive and healthy relationships
- Frequent interactions with family and friends. Volunteer, join a club, or participate in community events.
- Keep your mind stimulated
- Challenge your brain and keep it working. You can dead, write, play cards, crosswords or boards games. Learn a new language or a musical instrument.
- Be physically active
- Exercise increases blood circulation and may improve brain function. You can stay fit with simple brisk walking, tai chi, dancing or even swimming.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet
- Eat more fruits and vegetables and take less sugar and salt. Besides that, choose food low in fat and saturated fat.
- Be heart healthy
- Keeping your heart healthy means keeping your brain healthy too. As a result, you will be able to prevent risk factors for Dementia such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
- Manage your medical conditions well
- Seek treatment if you have a medical condition and take your medications dutifully. Go to regular check ups and health screening.
- Reduce and avoid habits that harm your health
- Stay away from smoking, excessive alcohol intake and anything that harms your health. Practice healthy habits such as sufficient hours of sleep and exercises.
Caring for a dementia patient can be challenging and stressful. Moreover, it can take a physical and emotional toll on you. To provide the best possible care for patients, you should start by looking after your own health and well being. It takes a lot of mental strength and patience to deal with dementia patients. Having a strong support network really helps too. This will offer you a place to share your feelings and gain emotional support.
Written by: Dr. Shashini Asokumaran