Dementia is a non-curable disease that happens when an individual experiences loss of their cognitive abilities.
Dementia comes in different forms and types, with each individual experiencing different signs and symptoms that will impact their daily lives. It is important to note that although this disease is not curable, it can be treated in the form of medicine or therapy to help mitigate the symptoms and complications an individual experience during their lifetime with dementia. Once someone is diagnosed with dementia, he or she will likely be prescribed a care plan, as well as a treatment plan, from their medical professional.
As aforementioned, dementia is treatable, and symptoms of the disease can be mitigated and kept at bay. People with dementia may have a hard time in the beginning of their diagnosis understanding their options and what that means for their daily like. Support groups for people living with dementia are available to them during this foreign and often stressful time in their lives. It is important to make sure that someone living with dementia has a hold not only on their physical wellbeing, but their mental health as well, as depression could develop overtime. Support groups can offer a sense of community and sustenance that the individual longs for while discussing treatments with his or her medical professionals.
There are several different times of treatments that can be used to manage symptoms of the disease. If an individual is deemed qualified for medications, there are two well-known options. The first medication used to manage symptoms of dementia is cholinesterase inhibitors, which assist in the boost of an individual’s memory, judgement and cognitive abilities. There are three different types of cholinesterase inhibitors: galantamine (Razadyne), donepezil (Aricept) and rivastigmine (Exelon). It is important to note that these medications are given mostly to individuals that have Alzheimer’s disease, but it can also be used to treat other types of dementia as well. Medical professionals will prescribe this medicine as they see fit after the patient undergoes several evaluations.
The second type of medication for individuals with dementia is memantine, commonly known as Namenda. This particular medicine works by directly changing the way neurotransmitter chemicals communicate with one another, thus improving cognitive abilities. This will help the nerve cells in the brain work as they are intended to, without the damage that cause the individuals dementia in the first place. As with any oral medication, there are side effects and warnings to be aware of. Individuals are encouraged to talk extensively with their doctor regarding the side effects and complications that they may face with this medication.
Outside of medication, dementia patients have the opportunity to explore different types of therapies that may help them live a long, fulfilled and seemingly normal lifestyle, despite their diagnosis. Much like medications, this will highly depend on the individuals type of dementia, as well as how it affects his or her daily life. A medical professional will be able to recommend a type of therapy that will be right for their patient, as well as a reputable place to go to receive treatment. It is important to remember that all therapies should be administered through professionals and should be monitored on an ongoing basis.
There are a few options when it comes to therapy and living with dementia post a diagnosis. The first type is occupational therapy, where a trained individual teaches the dementia patient to maintain a safe and healthy environment that will help them live a happier lifestyle. Through occupational therapy, the individual with dementia, as well as their family members, learn how they can prevent complications with this disease due to the environment around them. Certain activities may to be preparing oneself for the progression of dementia, how they can mitigate accidents and how their family members can manage behavior that will come out due to the progression of dementia.
The second type of therapy that an individual with dementia may be prescribed is working through the steps that will modify and simplify daily tasks. This is seen as a less ‘official’ type of therapy but can still be just as effective as other treatments. If a doctor suggests modifying one’s environment and simplifying their daily tasks, it is important to understand what type of modifications and changes that are needed.
Speaking with a medical professional about the progression of the disease can give hints and clues into what modifications are needed.
For example, if an individual’s dementia is going to be progressing at a rapid rate, it is advised that he or she takes extreme precautions to prevent any complications that they may face.
Perhaps one of the best ways to allow an individual with dementia to flourish during their life with the diagnosis is to hire a professional caregiver to assist in the home. By hiring an in-home caregiver, the individual living with dementia has the ability to live comfortably and safely in their home, while acquiring the help of a professional. An in-home caregiver can provide a wide variety of services that will benefit someone living with dementia, especially during the times when their symptoms progress. An in-home caregiver can ensure that the home is safe and the individual suffering from dementia has the ability to go freely about their day, under the close observation of someone that will keep them innocuous.
Living with dementia can be challenging, scary and daunting but does not have to take over an individual’s life. Although he or she may experience life altering symptoms, they do not have to succumb to the illness and allow it to ruin their livelihood.
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