Dementia is a progressive loss of mental functioning, leading to memory loss, loss of judgment, loss of personality, physical decline, and decreased or no reasoning. The chemistry of the brain becomes damaged over time. The deterioration varies greatly from person to person. Every person experiences dementia in their own way. Many factors influence the decline, such as age, previous medical conditions, emotional resilience, physiological factors, and support given to them.
Initially, people may experience difficulty in remembering names, words, and activities. It is difficult for them to learn and remember new information. It gets harder to carry out daily activities, such as bathing, grooming, dressing, meal prep, shopping, financial affairs, and driving. Anxiety and depression starts to set in, and this is where people lose interest in their activities and their lives.
As dementia progresses, there is a greater impact on judgment, sensory activities, and daily functioning. There may be wandering, more extensive memory loss, decreased ambulation, loss of bladder or bowel function. This eventually will lead to requiring around the clock supervision and care. Families are distraught at how the patient may even have difficulty recognizing and remembering them. Reassurance and support are essential to the client and the family during this period. Many families will either require round the clock home care for their loved ones, or have their loved one placed in a residence.
There are many strategies and tips for us, as caregivers, to help our clients retain their dignity, self worth, independence, yet be there when the dementia progresses, symptoms get worse, and the loss of independence becomes complete. Here is a care plan to help you deal with someone suffering from dementia.
Remember: what works today will not necessarily work tomorrow. Always focus on individualizing client care.
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