Dementia management: Role of caretakers key

Dementia is a brain disease that affects memory, thinking ability and routine functions.

By   |  Published: 23rd Jun 2019  1:15 am
Dementia patients at Red Cross Nightingales Dementia Day Care Centre. —Photo: Hrudayanand

Hyderabad: Life can be tough for people with dementia and their attendants as well. While experts inform that there is no cure for dementia, attendants need to be kind and patient in dealing with patients.

Dementia is a brain disease that affects memory, thinking ability and routine functions. It can make patients immobile and cause speaking disability. It generally affects senior citizens, and medication can only help in slowing down the progress of the disease, they said.

During all these phases, attendants and family members need to be patient and take care of them with love and affection. These were the tips suggested by experts and a few attendants at the interactive group meeting on ‘How to handle stress, anxiety and depression while caring to the person with dementia or Alzheimer’s’ held at Red Cross Nightingales Dementia Day Care Centre, here on Saturday.

Sharing her experiences, former RBI employee Pattachi Monteiro said, “While taking care of my husband, I have learnt a lot. One needs to have loads of patience while dealing with dementia patients. They are clueless about what is happening with them and cannot even tell when an ant is biting them or a housefly disturbing them.”

The patients have disturbed sleep pattern and tend to scream and yell at people. Ensuring their personal hygiene is a challenge and getting them to bathe, changing their clothes, brushing their teeth could be a task, she said adding that they also have to be continuously monitored.
The key was diagnosing the disease early and this can be done through memory tests. It was advisable for people aged above 65 to undergo these tests, said Dr Diana Monteiro, Director of Hyderabad Academy of Psychologist.

Forgetfulness, getting confused in unfamiliar surroundings, developing fear of being alone, and mood fluctuations are a few symptoms that need to be looked at. Patients with dementia tend to remember past memories a lot and forget the fresh and present memories, she said.

While, there are no specific reasons for the disease occurrence, it can be hereditary. Consulting neurologists after conducting the memory tests could be helpful, she added.

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