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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"What is dementia?" From Dementia Care Notes.

On Courtesy of Dementia Care Notes website, Swapna Kishore.

"Dementia, simply put, is a group of symptoms associated with a progressive loss of brain functioning. The word “dementia” comes from “de” (without) and “mentia” (mind).
Dementia is a syndrome usually chronic, characterized by a progressive, global deterioration in intellect including memory, learning, orientation, language, comprehension and judgement due to disease of the brain.
Dementia occurs because of diseases that affect the patient’s brain. Because the brain controls every function of our body, dementia patients have problems doing various tasks of daily life.
Patients face memory loss, which increases as their dementia progresses. They find it difficult to balance their bank statements or plan for visitors at home. Sometimes, they forget where they are (which house, which city) or the date and time. They struggle to find the right words to explain what they want. Over time, they become unable to do the normal activities we all take for granted, and even have problems walking, talking, and swallowing food. In the final stage, they become bed-ridden and fade away.
To people around them–their family, friends, colleagues, neighbours–dementia patients look confused and forgetful and start behaving strangely, such as withdrawing or getting aggressive. These symptoms are often assumed to be part of normal ageing; but dementia is not normal ageing.
Patients may show some or most of the following symptoms (the number and intensity of the symptoms increases as dementia progresses):
early dementia patient confused and misplaces watch in fridge
  • Forgetting important things, especially recent things
  • Finding it difficult to plan events or solve problems
  • Normal, daily activities seem more difficult to do
  • Wearing wrong/ inappropriate clothes, or becoming untidy
  • Getting confused about which day, month or year it is, or where the person is
  • Having problems with pictures
  • Having problems with numbers
  • Using wrong words while speaking or writing
  • Putting things at very unsuitable places (like putting a file in the fridge)
  • Starting something, and then being unable to remember what they wanted to do, even after trying a lot
  • Taking strange decisions about investments
  • Withdrawing socially
  • Getting agitated for minor things or for no apparent reason at all
  • Seeming suspicious about people"

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