Do you know anyone who has memory lapses, sudden problems using silverware, and tends to leave the lights off when in a room? This individual may have dementia. According to the World Health Organization (2020), 50 million people have dementia worldwide and 5 million Americans suffer from it. Dementia causes a breakdown in memory, issues with thinking, changes in personality and behavior, and the ability to perform routine activities (Weber, 2020). This comes from the degeneration of nerve cells that essentially wither away and affects different areas of the brain. This is why all patients with dementia do not necessarily act the exact same. It depends on which areas of the brain have been impacted.
Dementia typically affects the elderly population (60+ years old), however it has been known to impact those who are younger (early onset dementia). One of the most common causes of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease which contributes to 60-70% of the cases that exist (WHO, 2020). Dementia tends to progress over time and leads to great dependence on others. The best way to address and deal with dementia is to increase awareness by educating the public; reducing the stigma associated that creates distance between those who suffer, medical personnel, and their support systems; and finally, recognizing signs and symptoms early so that your loved ones can get the help they need (WHO, 2020).
It is helpful to understand first-hand what your loved one may be experiencing so that you can provide the best help and resources for them. You may want to consider completing the virtual dementia tour (VDT) offered by SBR Workplace Leadership Services which offers you the opportunity to step into the shoes of a dementia patient and learn how to best care for them. It is an eye-opening experience and will change the way you look at dementia from then on. Schedule your VDT today!
“I truly feel if every caretaker, family member and medical personnel who come in daily contact with those suffering with dementia and could take your course they would have a better grasp and perhaps behave with more empathy regarding the effects of this disease.”
World Health Organization (WHO)(2020). Dementia. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dementia
Weber, C. (2020). Outsmart Dementia. Morton Grove: Publications International, Ltd.
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