As your elderly loved ones get older, you may begin to notice that they have trouble getting their thoughts together during conversations, feeling comfortable during social situations, or even walk without slow, deliberate movements. While this might be a natural part of aging, it could be early warning signs of dementia, a chronic condition that affects millions of elders in America and around the world each year. While dementia is currently considered incurable, it is not considered untreatable. To help your loved one with this debilitating condition, you must first understand it in more detail.
Just What Is Dementia?
Doctors do not classify dementia as one specific disease or illness. Instead, it is the end result of at least two mental impairments that cause reduced brain function. In most cases, dementia is caused by frequent amnesia in conjunction with the inability to make good judgement calls. In less frequent occurrences, it may manifest into physical symptoms, such as lack of motor control or speech impediments.
Common consequences of dementia include:
- Forgetfulness in daily tasks
- Reclusiveness or discomfort around friends and family
- Disorientation or confusion caused by ordinary objects
- Creating false memories or hallucinations
- Uncharacteristic mood swings
- Restlessness and general irritability
If you suspect your elder may be developing dementia, you can keep an eye out for telltale signs. For example: If they have made the same purchase multiple times – such as buying several gallons of milk despite living alone – and cannot provide a reason as to why, they might be suffering from early stages of dementia.
Reducing the Impacts of Dementia
Treatments for dementia are not fully established in the scientific community. Surgery is certainly not a viable option and while some medications seem to help, the risks of complications are usually not worth how little they actually do. One of the most common and most trusted forms of dementia treatment is long-term rehabilitative care. Through regular mental and physical exercises and therapies, the mental pathways being blocked or diminished through dementia can be strengthened and reestablished. Think of it as gently relearning cognitive processes that dementia has taken away.
At King Street Rehab in Westchester County, our caring and dedicated professionals have developed therapeutic programs specifically for the treatment of patients with dementia. Contact us today to learn how our programs can benefit your loved one. You can even schedule a tour of our facilities if you would like to get a close look at what we do.