Preventing, Treating, and Living With Dementia

As people age, certain health concerns become more prevalent. People start to become afflicted with heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Another concern is preventing, treating, and living with dementia.

Young woman kissing her old grandmother in the park. Living with dementia concept

Dementia is a scary topic, and we’re sure you have questions. Here’s a quick guide to everything you need to know.

Is It Possible To Prevent Dementia?

There are several types of dementia, so there is no one way to prevent it. Additionally, researchers are still learning how it develops and how to treat it.

Common risk factors have been identified. As such, avoiding these risk factors and leading a healthy lifestyle is a great way to lower your chances of developing dementia.

Common factors include age, genetics, level of education, and lifestyle. While you can’t avoid aging and have no control over your genetics, you do have control over your lifestyle.

Tips That Could Prevent Dementia

A healthy, regulated diet and regular exercise are once again the recommended preventative treatment. Try eating foods that are rich in nutrients and low in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats. Your diet should consist primarily of vegetables and lean meats.

Regular exercise doesn’t just keep you at a healthy weight, increase energy and flexibility; it also protects your brain. Whether you elect to take a walk around the park, participate in a senior water aerobics class, or join a Silver Sneakers program, exercise of any kind keeps your mind and body active.

Avoid Isolation, Smoking, and Drinking

These are perhaps the most common coinciding factors in dementia patients. Older adults who isolate themselves and don’t engage in stimulating social activities are at a higher risk. Additionally, cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption are risk factors that have other consequences such as heart disease, cancer, and liver disease. It’s never too late to quit smoking, and cutting back or cutting out alcohol is better for brain health and heart health.

Treating Dementia

While there is no cure for most types of dementia, the condition’s progress can be slowed, and various treatments can improve quality of life for those diagnosed.

Again, lifestyle is crucial. A healthy diet, lots of exercise, and stimulating activities are vital. There are also a variety of therapies and strategies that can help retain memory as well as stave off depression and anxiety.

Many of the treatments for dementia (especially in the early stages) do not involve medication. However, there are medications available for mid and late stage dementia.

Living With Dementia

It’s important to have a good support system. Quality caregivers are vital to patients living with dementia. Routines, strategies, and communication are important for their health, safety, and well-being.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, please contact us at 718.376.7755. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

Caring for Dementia Patients and Preventing Decline

Dementia is more than a disease. Rather, dementia is compiled of a series of symptoms that signal a decline in mental and cognitive health. Caring for dementia patients takes compassion, patience, and, above all, understanding. Let’s delve into the roots of dementia as well as how to care for dementia patients and help them prevent further decline.

Dementia and Occupational Therapy - Home caregiver and senior adult woman

About Dementia

The main result of dementia is brain cell death which is caused by several symptoms and diseases. Dementia results in a state of general mental difficulty. Patients who suffer from dementia commonly find it difficult to accomplish daily activities without help, making them candidates for assisted living.

Dementia is incurable. Alzheimer’s is one of the most common and devastating forms of dementia. However, some prescription drugs can help alleviate and improve symptoms, temporarily. There are also some non-drug approaches that have been used to treat Alzheimer’s. These “therapies” can be useful in controlling the patient’s behavioral and physical symptoms.

 

Caring for Dementia Patients

If you find yourself taking care of a person with dementia, there are several things to keep in mind:

  • Remember to set a positive mood
  • Make sure to get the patient’s attention to avoid startling them
  • Ask questions that are clear and easy to answer
  • Learn how to distract from or change subjects in order to keep the patient from emotionally troubling topics

If your loved one is suffering from dementia, the best thing you can offer is your company and positive energy. When caring for dementia patients, communication through body language and tone of voice is of high value. For example, adopting a calm, pleasant tone while speaking simply and clearly can help them remain at ease.

 

Preventing Dementia & Decline

Some of the best ways to avoid dementia include:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Keeping your body and mind active
  • No smoking
  • Checking up with your doctor to make sure everything is functioning properly
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

 

David York Agency’s Professionals Can Help

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. We aim to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Tips for Traveling with Dementia

traveling with dementia

Traveling, like other changes in routine, can be highly stressful for a senior with dementia. However, if your parent is in the early stages of dementia, an enjoyable getaway might still be possible. Here’s what you need to know about traveling with dementia.

 

Planning for Your Trip

  • Be sure to bring copies of important documents with you. Both you and your elderly loved one should have a copy of their identification. Similarly, you both should carry copies of doctor’s contact information, medication list, insurance information, and food and drug allergies.

 

  • Prepare your hosts. If you’ll be staying with family or friends, let them know of any changes that have occurred since the last time they saw your senior. Tell them how they can help you during your stay and how they can put their guest at ease. If you’ll be staying at a hotel, speak to the staff about any needs you might have. Inform them privately about your senior’s condition and ask them to let you know if they see him or her walking around without you.

 

  • Consider bringing someone else with you. Your elderly loved one will likely require a fair amount of attention and care. Bringing another person can help ease the stress and let you concentrate on other details of the trip.

 

  • Be patient, adaptable, and realistic. Things won’t go perfectly. Remembering that will help you to be less frustrated when problems do arise.

 

  • Have fun! While traveling with a loved one with dementia comes with its complications, it doesn’t mean you and your family can’t enjoy the trip and relish the quality time together.

 

If you come to the conclusion that your loved one is simply unable to travel, have you thought about getting a healthcare professional to care for them while you’re away? Please contact us today for information about our home healthcare services.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Consider Non-Pharmacologic Approaches for Treating Symptoms of Dementia

Behavioral & Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD)

Many people think of dementia impacting cognitive impairment, like memory loss and attention, but dementia is not just memory loss.  However, there are behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) that occur in about 90 percent of dementia patients.  Moreover, these non-cognitive symptoms are equally important to the syndrome with respect to function and cognition.

BPSD symptoms can be very distressing for the person with dementia, their family and caretakers.

Some examples of these symptoms include:

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  • Mood Disorders (aggression, depression, anxiety, and apathy)
  • Psychotic Episodes (delusions and hallucinations)
  • Abnormal Motor Behaviors (pacing, wandering, repetitive vocalization)
  • Inappropriate Behavior (agitation, disinhibition, screaming and elation).
  • Sleep and Appetite Changes

Implications of BPSD Symptoms

Symptoms of BPSD are significantly concerning because they put patients at higher risk for institutionalization, greater functional decline, and domestic abuse.  Until now, the preferred method for managing BPSD has been to prescribe medication.  However, that adds to the already hefty arsenal of drugs currently taken by most senior citizens and adds to the potential for dangerous side effects. Fortunately, there may just be a better way. 

Non-Pharmacological Treatments for BPSD

It is important to realize that there are many non-pharmacological treatments that may be helpful.  Furthermore, there is evidence that supports using these approaches despite the existence of inconsistent clinical research.

Notably, some examples of these treatments are:

  • Sensory Stimulation
  • Environmental Modification
  • Behavioral Therapy
  • Cognitive/Emotion-Oriented Approaches
  • Social Contact (real or simulated)
  • Caregiver Training/Development
  • Structured Activities
  • Clinically-Oriented Approaches
  • Individualized/Person-Centered Care
  • Clinical Decision Support Approaches

For further information, click this link for the Nursing Home Toolkit  Non-Pharmacological Approaches to Address Behaviors detailing the most up to date non-pharmacologic approaches for treating BPSD.

Also, take a look at:

Review of Non-pharmacologic Approaches for Treating Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Distress

Efficacious and Feasible Non-pharmacological Approaches for Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Distress

With so much new research, we owe it to our elderly dementia to consider medication as a measure of last resort.

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For more information and assistance with treating dementia patients contact David York Agency at 718-376-7755.  Also, visit our website at http://davidyorkhomehealthcare.com/.