Long life is something virtually everyone desires. But as we grow older, our body systems tend to get weaker and turn against us. And dementia is one of those things seniors are at risk of. Not that it’s a normal part of the ageing process, but it can occur, unfortunately.
What is Dementia
Dementia is a collective term that describes a series of symptoms associated with gradual mental decline. It is not one specific disease but an umbrella term that is used to describe approximately 100 different illnesses.
As a person ages, the brain goes through considerable modifications. One of such modifications is brain shrinkage, which begins after 60. Cells also begin to wear out and no longer regenerate.
Typically, dementia is caused by damage to or loss of nerve cells in the brain. This may result in difficulty remembering things, which can be severe enough to hamper the individual’s social life.
This debilitating illness affects a person’s ability to think, reason, and remember. It is a progressive condition that slowly and steadily worsens over time, and it can have a profound impact on a person’s daily life, as well as the lives of their family.
The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of cases of dementia in New Zealand. The second most common cause is vascular dementia. (Dementia NZ)
Who gets Dementia
Dementia affects people of all cultures, intellectual abilities and lifestyles. It is not a normal part of ageing, although the likelihood of getting dementia increases as a person ages. This doesn’t however, mean that younger people – people aged less than 65 – don’t also get dementia. Some people may be predisposed to dementia by pre-existing intellectual disability, head injury or family history. Everybody’s journey with dementia is different
General Symptoms of Dementia
Early signs and symptoms of dementia can be subtle and hard to recognise. Symptoms of dementia include:
- Subtle short-term memory changes.
- Difficulty with language or communication
- Changes in personality
- Changes in mood
- Changes in behaviors
- Difficulty with decision making, problem solving, judgement, sequencing of tasks
- Difficultly completing normal task
- Changes in co-ordination and spatial awareness
- Struggling to adapt to change
For someone in the early stages of dementia, the experience can be very frightening. It’s very important to see a GP if you have concerns that you or someone you know may have dementia. If the symptoms are caused by dementia, an early diagnosis means early access to support, information, and a plan for the future.
If your elderly loved one has dementia, there’s every need to keep an eye on them at all times. Putting them in a Care Home becomes a wise choice.
But you want to put your loving parent in a home you can be proud of, a worthy place they deserve, a home away from home.
At Alexander House Rest Home, we understand that, and we provide a place where our residents can feel at home and even invite their friends over just as they would when on their actual property. We’re all about retaining that homely feel for you and your parent.
Let us help you give your loving parent the care they deserve so you can be relieved of your responsibilities to enable you to spend more quality time with them.
Needing support and more information about Dementia? Here are links to support organisations in NZ