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Dementia: Is this Dementia and What Does it Mean?

Introduction

What does it mean when someone is said to have dementia? For some people, the word conjures up scary images of “crazy” behavior and loss of control. In fact, the word dementia describes a group of symptoms that includes short-term memory loss, confusion, the inability to problem-solve, the inability to complete multi-step activities such as preparing a meal or balancing a checkbook, and, sometimes, personality changes or unusual behavior.

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Behavior Issues

  • Anxiety and agitation can sometimes be caused by bodily discomfort, such as pain, constipation, hunger or uncomfortable clothes. Try figuring out what might be wrong. Ask your physician to evaluate for medical problems. Medications and lack of sleep can cause behavioral changes.
     
  • Stay calm, as your anxiety will increase their anxiety.
     

Bathing (for dementia)

  • People with dementia are often resistant to bathing. They will claim they just showered or that they will do it later or outright refuse to bathe. Unless someone is incontinent, daily bathing is not necessary. Pick your battles—once or twice a week may be sufficient. Coupling bathing with an activity is sometimes helpful, e.g. going to the doctor or out to lunch or a bowl of ice cream.

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Photo credit:
Used under Creative Commons license
conversation . . L1067630 [http://bit.ly/1hoEHFw]
Copyright 2008 Susan Sermoneta
[https://www.flickr.com/photos/en321/]

What Every Caregiver Needs to Know About Money

Photo credit:
Used under Creative Commons license
conversation . . L1067630 [http://bit.ly/1hoEHFw]
Copyright 2008 Susan Sermoneta
[https://www.flickr.com/photos/en321/]

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Any time our loved ones need medical care we traditionally rely on professionals to answer our questions, diagnose properly, and recommend treatments. In the past, doctors were unquestioned authorities who took the lead in discussions with their patients on medical care. But things have changed; the relationship has shifted.

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