Dementia is an umbrella term for a gradual loss of thinking abilities, problem-solving capabilities, language, and memory. Any abnormal changes in the brain that have a severe impact on independent life function can be grouped under dementia.
Not only does dementia affect cognitive abilities, but it also impairs relationships and individual behavior. It is because our brain has distinct areas for movement, judgment, memory, and other vital function.
Educating oneself about the condition is an essential step towards better management of dementia. While most changes are irreversible, certain functions such as memory and thinking can be improved over time given that any of the following conditions causes them:
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Thyroid problems
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Medication side effects
Other risk factors include head trauma, Lewy Body Disease, Parkinson’s disease, HIV disease, Huntington’s disease, Pick’s disease, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Detection of Dementia
Doctors employ various measures to evaluate the condition of the patient.
They conduct a series of:
- Language skills
- Thinking skills
- Memory orientation
- Reasoning and judgment
- PET scans
- MRI or CT
- Vitamin B-12 deficiency
- Simple blood tests
- Underactive thyroid gland
- Degenerative diseases
Care Management of Dementia – Primary Goals
Now that we know what causes dementia, we can proceed to care management of dementia. While there is no permanent cure for this chronic illness, it is possible to control the psychological, behavioral, and cognitive symptoms of dementia.
The primary goals of dementia management include:
- Creating a safe environment for the patient
- Promoting social engagement
- Enhancing behavior, mood, and cognition
- Maintaining the quality of life
- Maximizing daily function
- Slowing the progression of the disease
To achieve the above health outcomes, it is essential to monitor the patient’s condition daily. Other factors include support to caregivers and educators.
In other words, management of dementia is necessary besides pharmacologic interventions.
Management of Symptoms
Apart from improving the quality of life, therapeutic interventions for dementia patients minimize the cost of care. Some of the psychological and behavioral symptoms that therapy can manage are psychosis, depression, aggression, and agitation.
Early intervention by care providers can work wonders for the patients and their caregivers. Once the diagnosis of dementia has been made, you or any of your family members can reach out to AdvantagePlusNurses for remote monitoring services and transitional care coordination. Many of these programs are fully covered under insurance.
Therapies for Dementia
Therapies are part of nonpharmacologic interventions for the management of dementia. Early diagnosis and treatment can help manage behavioral and psychological problems.
Some of the therapies include:
- Occupational therapy interventions for dementia patients: It aims to prevent falls and accidents by teaching coping behaviors and ensuring a safe environment for patients.
- Memory therapy for dementia: Besides maintaining the patient’s ability to retain memories, it also boosts the patients’ confidence and self-worth. Patients living with dementia also observe a reduction in stress levels in day-to-day life.
Other Nonpharmacological Interventions of Dementia
Apart from symptomatic therapies, there are other nonpharmacological interventions of dementia, such as:
- Encourage exercise: It’s vital for people with dementia to exercise regularly to improve their cardiovascular health, balance, and strength. Patients often feel restless, and exercise is imperative during the management of dementia. Coupled with a nourishing diet, patients may observe reduced symptoms, thereby slow the disease’s progression.
- Engage in physical activity: What are some recreational activities that the patient enjoys? Caregivers should encourage any form of physical activity that the patients are still capable of doing. It can be anything – singing, cooking, gardening, painting, dancing, and other activities.
- Start a conversation: If you are a caregiver, you should converse as much as possible with the patient. Not only would it help with depression, but it also maintains their ability to frame sentences while they still can. While interacting with the patient, maintain eye contact, talk slowly, and never rush the response.
- Maintain a calendar: You need to keep track of medication schedules, daily activities, and upcoming appointments with care practitioners as well as the primary physician.
- Seek help: Management of dementia could be pretty challenging for the sole caregiver. Therefore, you should never hesitate to seek help from other members of the family. Get in touch with a support group or a community that could be beneficial for your mental health as well.
Timely detection and management of dementia in the early stages can make a considerable difference in the patient’s quality of life.