Dementia is not an Adams’ family nickname, but a debilitating illness that can affect anyone. Getting the right help and treatment can save a lot of suffering, both to the patient and their family 

 

Life expectancies are increasing by the decade. The chance to live longer is clearly great news for future generations. But despite these strides in longevity, the number of mental health cases continues to rise amongst the elderly. For many, the mind deteriorates quicker than the body.

Dementia is one of the most common issues in this field, and figures are growing by the year. In fact, experts predict that there will be over one million people living with the illness by 2025. While there is no cure for the mental illness, the families of sufferers can help their loved ones. Quite frankly, it doesn’t have to stop them from enjoying a fulfilling life.

As with most types of mental health conditions, the severity of dementia can vary between different patients. Likewise, the speed of deterioration is unique to the individual sufferer. Therefore, the most important step is to spot the signs. Recognising a problem early on can often afford medical experts a chance to slow the regression. Even in cases where this isn’t possible, early detection allows precautions to be made.

Dementia can be a daunting condition, at any stage of the illness. For family members, the most important element is to provide regular contact. Loneliness can make the situation a whole lot worse for the sufferer. Meanwhile, the condition can often result in volatile behavioural changes. So promoting a sense of stability is key.

Perhaps the most crucial element is to get the housing situation under control. Again, the best solution has to be decided on a case-by-case basis. After all, someone in the early stages of the illness may only need a little additional support. With time though, many dementia patients will require a more significant level of care. Assisted living may be required. If so, it’s imperative that the family selects something like this care facility which specialises in this type of illness. Opting for a generic support home will result in limited results.

There are many steps to help slow the process and make life more comfortable for a sufferer. Keeping their mind active is obviously a crucial one. However, nutrition can play a significant role too. When taking care of a sufferer, hydration is particularly important. Where possible, a little physical exercise is good too. However, it’s important to remember that dementia patients can be vulnerable to trips and falls, so keeping an eye out at all times is  essential.

Regular communication with professionals should always help the family provide better care and support. However, it’s not only individual patients that can be helped. Going forward, one of the best things we can do as a society is to support the continued research. Whether it’s donating to charity or organising an event yourself, every little genuinely helps.

As people continue to live longer, it’s almost inevitable that we will come to know someone who is impacted by dementia. Quite frankly, the best thing we can do is raise awareness. Not only for ourselves but for those around us too. This will ensure for the immediate future that sufferers receive the help they deserve. Long-term, hopefully we can beat the condition altogether.

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