As we get older our chances of getting dementia (Alzheimer’s is only one form of dementia) increases. For those of us aged between 70 and 74, about 1 in 30 has dementia, for those between 90 and 94 it’s one in 3. What is really awful is that people as young as 20 can suffer as well.
How to Avoid
A wealth of research highlights that regular exercise, mental stimulation and a healthy diet made up of lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, eating small amounts of fish and cereals and low volumes of saturated fatty acids, dairy and very small amounts of meat and poultry may reduce the chances of developing any form of dementia and/or reduces symptoms.
When to Worry
If you find that you’re forgetting things all the time and it’s getting noticeably worse may be the first evidence that something needs to be looked at. Occasional memory loss and even regular brain fog are NOT necessarily the early warning signs of dementia.
If you open the kitchen drawer and forget what you were looking for isn’t a sign of dementia. Forgetting what a knife or fork are used for IS a serious issue that needs to be looked at by an expert.
How are we Affected?
Dementia affects different people in different ways and at different ages and progresses at different speeds. In the early stages changes in behaviours may be almost unnoticeable but as their condition gets worse their ability to stay motivated, to find the right words, and their power to reason and concentrate start to deteriorate. These changes result in confusion, distress, mood changes, and often, aggressive behaviours.
How YOU Can Help
The help that people can offer to those who are suffering from dementia cannot be overestimated. Family and close friends offer links to past experiences which can trigger normal behaviors at times because the memories of times past can get past cognitive and verbal impairment.
Non-verbal forms of communicating in the later stages becomes far more important – touch and gestures work well to reinforce short and very clear sentences.
Singing has proven to be a very powerful tool to ‘get through’ to people with advanced dementia (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKDXuCE7LeQ#t=26).
What To NEVER Do!
Never talk down to or belittle someone with dementia. Don’t correct their ‘mistakes’.
What You Must ALWAYS Do!
Make them feel loved.
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— Anti Aging Today (@StopAgingUS) January 5, 2015