Dementia is a very difficult for the sick patient and their family.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines dementia as, “A syndrome – usually of a chronic or progressive nature – that leads to deterioration in cognitive function (i.e. the ability to process thought) beyond what might be expected from the usual consequences of biological ageing.”
“It affects memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning capacity, language, and judgement.”
Dementia is a disease that comes with age and over 55 million people worldwide live with it.
It makes the ageing process harder than it ought to be by frequent memory loss, aggressive behaviour and confusion.
Dealing with a patient with dementia
Dealing with a patient always puts a strain on the caregivers and family members as they struggle to recognise their loved ones.
Two dominant behaviours they exhibit is confusion and aggression. As a caregiver, knowing how to handle them in those episodes makes all the difference.
Memory loss can often lead to confusion and this will make the elderly person unsure of where they are and what they are doing there.
This is called the sundown syndrome, your parent or spouse might be normal all through the day only to begin acting up at certain hours.
You can calm them down by doing the following;
– Keep familiar portraits or objects around.
– Label things so they know what is around them.
– Offer to assist when they are looking for things.
– Ask yes or no questions so you can help them reorient their thoughts
Elderly people with dementia also have aggressive outbursts. It could be as a reaction to pain, medication, confusion or sundown syndrome.
Reassure them as you try to calm them down. Say words like, “Everything will be fine.”
If they are disoriented try to simplify things for them. Let’s say they feel they are late for a meeting. You can tell them they have no meeting to attend because they are now retired.
Change the topics to something in the present or remind them of a fond memory.
It is never easy, but with understanding and patience you can take care of them and even have more memories before the inevitable happens.