Whether it’s your own diagnosis or a family member’s, dementia can change your life. While there will be challenging days ahead, by being prepared and learning everything you can about dementia, you can cope or care better. To help you navigate a difficult diagnosis, here are six facts about dementia that may surprise you:
- Dementia is Not a Disease: Dementia is a general term used to describe the many symptoms associated with memory loss and motor skills—not a specific disease. The symptoms are caused by diseases including Alzheimer’s, Dementia with Lewy Bodies, Huntington’s Disease and Parkinson’s.
- Dementia Risk Increases With Age: Despite common misconceptions, while the likelihood of dementia does go up with age, it’s not a regular part of ageing. Although some loss of mental ability is typical in your later years, a significant cognitive decline is likely a sign of something more serious like Alzheimer’s.
- Dementia Has Many Faces: Dementia affects people in many different ways. Some will experience confusion and disorientation, while others may have mild hallucinations or issues with swallowing food. In most cases, your experience with dementia will be very different from someone else’s.
- You Can Live With Dementia: Many people believe that when you have dementia, you lose the ability to care for yourself. In some instances that may be true, but there are many people who have found strategies to allow them to live an active and independent life.
- There’s No Cure: At this time, there are no active treatments that can slow or stop the diseases that cause dementia. There are, however, treatments that can help people cope and live more comfortably with the symptoms. You can improve your chances with early diagnosis, but more research is needed to develop effective treatments and to prevent the underlying causes of dementia.
- Caregivers Experience High Stress: Caring for a loved one with dementia can become very overwhelming. Not only does it require extensive time and patience, but also can be very emotionally taxing. Many caregivers experience physical, emotional and economic stress that can profoundly impact their overall health. Luckily, there are many excellent supports and in-home care services that can help.
- There is Support: At VHA Home HealthCare, we can provide the support you need when you or a loved one is living with dementia. Our personal services can help you better cope with the symptoms and live a more comfortable life. We offer care directly in the home or in a long-term care facility, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To find out more about our services, visit us online or contact us directly.