If your loved one has dementia, you know how devastating the condition can be. Dementia can make performing daily activities of living more challenging. Also, it can affect how your loved one relates to you. If you’d like some solutions for the condition, our post about the latest treatments for dementia may help.
What Is Dementia?
Perhaps, you have a relative who suffers from dementia, but the ramifications of the disorder still mystify you. Despite what many believe, dementia isn’t a specific disease. It can be tied to many diseases. Instead, it’s a general term describing symptoms linked to memory decline and decreased cognitive abilities.
Reversible vs. Irreversible Dementia
Reversible types of dementia are the result of medical conditions, such as head trauma, high fever, vitamin deficiency, or depression. They can be treated by taking certain supplements and medications, such as Vitamin B12, hormonal supplements, antidepressants, and antibiotics.
Unfortunately, some forms of dementia are irreversible. The most common type of irreversible dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, affects 5.3 million Americans. Besides Alzheimer’s disease, other kinds of irreversible dementia include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.
New Treatments for Irreversible Dementia
- Cholinesterase inhibitors can help prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine (also called the “brain messenger chemical”), which is critical for memory, learning, and emotional wellbeing. Doctors often prescribe cholinesterase inhibitors for people with less severe forms of Alzheimer’s disease. By doing so, these physicians hope to delay the onset of tertiary Alzheimer’s symptoms. These inhibitors may also be useful for treating Lewy body dementia. The most common forms of cholinesterase inhibitors prescribed include donepezil and galantamine.
- Glutamate inhibitors like memantine are medications that protect brain cells. These medications regulate glutamate, which is a nerve communication chemical. Basically, glutamate inhibitors slow glutamate production. Why? Increased glutamate production can cause a rise in cell damage.
- Thyroid hormones can also be effective. In fact, studies have found that many dementia patients suffering from NTIS (non-thyroidal illness syndrome) improved when given thyroid hormones.
- Ultrasound therapy may be a gamechanger. Researchers in several countries continue to conduct trials to assess the effectiveness of ultrasound therapy in treating dementia.
Therapy by those specially trained can also be helpful in improving memory and cognitive skills. For example:
- Reality orientation training helps a patient with dementia review basic information, such as the date, time of day, and the city of residence.
- Reminiscence therapy involves low-stress conversation aimed at stimulating the memory. Healthcare professionals may chat with patients about their school days, hometown, or hobbies. They may also share old photos or reminisce about the past.
- Cognitive stimulation therapy is geared towards those with mild to moderate forms of dementia. It’s generally carried out in a group setting and involves activities such as singing, playing word games, and discussing current events.
Other Considerations For Caregivers
- Regularly check your loved one’s hearing and vision. Auditory and visual problems can make a patient with dementia feel even more isolated.
- Declutter your loved one’s home and remove dangerous items, such as knives, scissors, and power tools.
- Place reminders of upcoming events where they can be easily seen.
- Dementia symptoms may worsen in the evening. Therefore, try to keep the home as calm and quiet as possible.
- Discourage your loved one from consuming caffeinated drinks during evening hours.
- Don’t let your loved one take overly long naps during the day.
- Consider getting help by hiring a highly-trained dementia caregiver or home health aide.
- Join a support group for dementia caregivers.
David York Agency Supports All Caregivers
David York Agency understands the challenges of caregiving and is willing to provide all the support you need.
If you’d like 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. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.
David York Agency Home Healthcare remains wholly committed to providing personalized care for your loved one. If you have questions about our services, please contact us. We can help you through the difficult times and give you the break you deserve!