WHAT IS DEMENTIA?
Dementia is a general term used to describe a group of symptoms associated with a decline in cognitive functions. This can be caused by brain disease or injury and is marked by memory disorders, personality changes and impaired reasoning. There are different types of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type.
WHAT ARE THE EARLY WARNING SIGNS OF DEMENTIA?
• Memory loss
• Difficulty performing daily, familiar tasks
• Problems with language
• Disorientated in terms of time and place
• Decreased judgement
• Difficulty with abstract thinking
• Changes in mood, behaviour and personality
• Loss of initiative or interest
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS OF DEMENTIA?
• Age: Dementia may occur at a younger age, but is more common over the age of 60. The risk to be diagnosed with dementia increases with age.
• Family history and genes: Having Alzheimer’s disease in your family does slightly increase your risk to develop the disease, but the majority of dementias are not inherited.
• Education: Studies show that dementia is less common in people with higher education
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS OF DEMENTIA? (CONTINUED)
• History of stroke and vascular disease
• Alcohol abuse over a long period of time
• History of a head injury
IS THERE TREATMENT FOR DEMENTIA?
Treatment of dementia depends on the cause. There is no cure for dementia, but there are ways to manage symptoms:
• Medication can temporarily improve symptoms
• Occupational Therapy can help to prevent accidents, manage behaviour and teach coping strategies
• Modifying the environment: Remove clutter, noise and safety hazards. This can help someone with dementia to cope and function optimally within their environment
• Modifying tasks: Break tasks into smaller and easier steps, provide structure and have a set routine to reduce confusion in the person with dementia