Caring for Dementia in a Boynton Beach Assisted Living Facility
Dementia is a scary situation for someone to find themselves in. According to the DSM-V, dementia is a term referring to a series of neurological problems that stem from the brain changing physically.
In our Boynton Beach assisted living facility, we’ve encountered a lot of patients that have to deal with dementia. Through our work with them, we have become more understanding of the condition and have realized many families are not aware of the changes their loved ones go through on this journey. Hopefully, the information here will shed some light on the subject and help you understand dementia a little bit better.
The Types of Dementia
Dementia affects memory, behavior, and almost anything to do with the brain. However, there are different types of dementia. In our experience at our Boynton Beach assisted living facility, we spot three types that show up most often:
An irreversible type of dementia that can progress from loss of memory to the person losing their sense of self and ability to do basic tasks.
The symptoms of this type of dementia are similar to Alzheimer’s, but memory loss is the last thing to set in, as opposed to the first. Symptoms also occur much quicker.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies
A difficult dementia to diagnose as the symptoms present are similar to Parkinson’s disease. It happens because of a buildup of a protein in the brain.
Other types of dementia include frontotemporal dementia (Pick’s disease) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Still, these three are the ones we encounter most often at our Boynton Beach assisted living facility
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What Causes Dementia?
Several different trigger events or stimuli can cause dementia. Among them are:
Some types of hydrocephalus: When fluid builds up in the brain, it can press on the cells there, leading to dementia as a result.
Central Nervous System Infections: Dementia can also be caused by infections, ranging from HIV to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): Sometimes, a person might get dementia from a traumatic brain injury that damages the cells in their brain irreparably.
Vascular Diseases: Blood flow to the brain is crucial to keep brain cells alive. Any disease that constricts these blood vessels could lead to dementia.
While some cases of Dementia are irreversible, others can be treated. It’s estimated that as much as 20% of cases are reversible with the proper treatment. Among the causes that can be treated are:
- Long-term alcohol or drug use
- Blood clots underneath the brain, and subdural hematomas
- Metabolic disorders, including B12 deficiency
Dementia is erroneously referred to as senility or senile dementia, but this terminology is misleading.
The term stems from the old belief that decline in mental faculties is a regular part of aging. The truth is that dementia and its attendant symptoms can be dealt with, ensuring that the person has an excellent quality of life going into old age. Dementia isn’t even that uncommon among the older generation either.
Between 5% and 8% of adults over 65 have some form of dementia. This number doubles every five years after the age of 65. By the time older adults get to their 80s, a full half of them suffer from dementia.
How To Care for a Loved One With Dementia
Dementia is an illness that can make a loved one forget who you are and even who they are. If you have someone in your family who has dementia, there are a few things you can do to try to help them. Among these are:
Learn as much as you can about the disease: Talk to a doctor and do your research from reputable sources. If you openly acknowledge the condition, it becomes easier to discuss. Local support groups and online forums provide decent resources to help you understand what you’re dealing with.
Stay in contact with friends and family: It’s not a good idea to cut contact with your friends and family in the case of a family member having dementia. Having everyone on board with the treatment and understanding the disease makes it easier to make hard decisions.
Involve family members in discussions and decisions: It’s in your best interest to keep family members involved in the decisions you make regarding your loved one who has dementia. Sometimes, their input and support may help guide you towards a more viable decision.
Take care of yourself: You cannot fill one empty jug from another one, so making sure you’re mentally and physically in good shape ensures that you can help your loved ones while they deal with the disease.