Fact vs Fiction: Dementia

Is Dementia Just Memory Loss? 

Dementia is associated with a decrease in brain function that impacts memory and performance of daily tasks. It is not the same as memory loss associated with aging. Dementia is a general term used for conditions that result from changes to the brain such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and dementia with lewy bodies (2018).

Myth: All people with dementia don’t recognize their family members

Hollywood’s portrayal of dementia is often of a person who is able to speak, eat, and dress themselves with no difficulty. The only deficit is that they have no idea who their loved one’s are when they walk into a room. Dementia impacts everyone differently and there is a wide array of symptoms associated with the disease. Many people with dementia maintain fulfilling relationships with the people closest to them (2018).

Common dementia symptoms include:

  • Visual and perceptual difficulty
  • Problems with communicating verbally and/or in writing
  • Trouble performing tasks such as bathing and dressing
  • Changes in mood or personality
  • Decreased judgment
  • Confusion and disorientation

Myth: You should correct someone who has dementia when they say something that isn’t accurate

You may feel compelled to correct someone who has dementia when they talk about something that isn’t in the “here and now”. However, this can lead to increased confusion and feelings of depression. The most effective way to communicate with a person who has dementia is to join their reality and validate what they are saying (2018).

Example:

“When will my mother get here?”

Poor response: “Your mother isn’t alive anymore, It’s 2018.”

Good response: “I think she will be here later.”

Myth: There is nothing you can do to lower your risk of dementia

Recent studies have found that people with hypertension, and other conditions of the heart are at risk for Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. The heart supplies blood to the brain, which provides nourishment. These conditions impact the flow of blood to the brain which can damage brain cells. Improving your diet, exercising, and avoiding habits such as smoking may decrease your risk of dementia (Singh, 2016).

References:

Alzheimer’s.org (2018) Retrieved February 21. 2018 https:// www.alz.org

Dementia.org (2018) Retrieved February 21. 2018 https://dementia.org

Singh, M et al. (2016) Using Multistate Observational Studies to Determine Role of Hypertension and Diabetes as Risk Factors for Dementia Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice Retrieved from http://library.neit.edu:2215/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=27&sid=94062bcd-c58b-4ea6-9534-106adb609f9e%40sessionmgr120

 

 

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