Anatomy of Dementia: How is The Life of a Demented Patient?
A demented patient may suffer from different diseases: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Binswanger’s, among others. They all have dementia, i.e. the gradual loss or weakening of the mental faculties, in common.
The diseases that cause dementia are difficult to bear for both the patient and their family. Memory and reason alterations, as well as some behavioral disorders, can make the situation exasperating.
Today, we’ll discover what aspects we need to consider when dealing with a demented patient.
Depression in a Demented Patient
Depression is a condition that usually affects demented patients. The fact that they don’t understand what’s happening to them, the memory loss that disorients them, and the tactlessness of the people around them will lead to discouragement and melancholy.
Many families don’t know how to deal with a demented patient. That’s why they make some of the mistakes we mention below:
- They treat them like a child: They talk in front of them as if they weren’t there and don’t hear anything. Also, they don’t have adult conversations with them.
- They yell and scold them: Yelling at a person with dementia because they’re doing something that they don’t even know why they’re doing will make them feel guilty and won’t help them understand what’s happening to them.
- They ignore them: Not talking to them like an adult, yelling at them, and ignoring many of the things they say will make the demented patient feel alone. This solitude can lead to depression.
The demented patient should feel supported and receive affection. The family has to make an effort to try to put themselves in the demented patient’s shoes and understand that the situation is hard on everyone.
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They Need to Feel Independent
The demented patient’s condition doesn’t mean they need everything taken care of by their families. There are many things they can do by themselves, but their family has to help them out with that.
For example, if they have trouble buttoning their shirt, try to buy them clothes without buttons. If they’re unable to tie their shoelaces, buy them shoes without them.
In the event that the person begins to have severe memory loss, you can take some additional measures. For example, tell them where the bathroom is without telling them directly by putting a sign on the bathroom door that says “Bathroom”.
The person with dementia may feel disoriented and confused due to their memory loss and sudden inability to do things as simple as tying their shoes. Therefore, doing these things for them will help them feel a lot better and more capable.
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They Have to Go Out
Many times, the family of a demented person doesn’t want them to leave the house out of fear that they might get lost. However, the solution isn’t to keep them at home 24/7 because this will lead to depression.
In the event that no one can care for the demented patient full time, you can hire someone to do so. The demented patient may get lost easily and, if left home alone, go out for any reason and not know how to come back.
However, it’s important that the demented patient spend quality time with their family. Going for a walk, going to the park, or sunbathing in the garden are activities they’ll really enjoy.
The demented patient needs to feel that their family supports them. This will help prevent isolation and loneliness.
Another very good option is to take them to a group that helps patients with this problem to help slow down memory loss and improve behavioral disorders.
There are also some specialized centers where demented patients can interact with each other. You should take them to these centers from time to time so they can feel accompanied, spend time with people who understand their problems and frustrations, and make new friends.
The life of a demented patient isn’t easy. They have many limitations they can’t control, much less understand. For this reason, supporting them and doing everything you can to help them is essential.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
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- Krueger, C. E., Laluz, V., Rosen, H. J., Neuhaus, J. M., Miller, B. L., & Kramer, J. H. (2011). Double Dissociation in the Anatomy of Socioemotional Disinhibition and Executive Functioning in Dementia. Neuropsychology. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021681
- Barba, A. L., Kelly Changizi, B., Higgins, D. S., Factor, S. A., & Molho, E. S. (2012). Dementia. In Parkinson’s Disease, Second Edition. https://doi.org/10.1201/b12948
- Curran, E. M., & Loi, S. (2013). Depression and dementia. The Medical Journal of Australia. https://doi.org/10.5694/mjao12.10567