It can be difficult and challenging to diagnose dementia and identify its type. When people lose their ability to complete necessary daily functions, such as driving and taking medication, and also develop cognitive impairment, this is what is known as dementia. There is no single test that is used to determine dementia; however, a series of tests will be able to diagnose the issue.
According to the Mayo Clinic, it takes an entire team of doctors working together to provide patients with the best care for dementia. These disciplines include neurology, psychology, neuroscience, and psychiatry. In order to ensure the most appropriate treatment for dementia, it is essential that physicians collaborate as a team, discussing test results and appointments with each other for the best possible outcome.
Treatment of dementia depends on the cause. When it comes to most progressive types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, there is no cure and no actual treatment that will slow or stop its advancement. However, there are some drug treatments that may improve symptoms for a time. There are also some non-drug therapies that can mitigate some of the symptoms of dementia.
Some non-drug approaches to treatment for dementia can include things like memory training, physical, mental, and social stimulation. Again, there is no cure for dementia, so these treatments could only serve to slow down the progression and allow the patient to temporarily increase their independence and keep them at home longer.
As dementia progresses, it becomes more and more difficult for people to perform their everyday activities. Becoming forgetful, patients increasingly develop problems expressing themselves with words. Dementia can also cause drastic personality changes. Because of this, it is essential to receive quality care, coupled with emotional and social support. People with dementia require patience, understanding and love.
One approach to alleviating symptoms of dementia involves memory training. Memory training is the act of enhancing one’s memory and there are several things that can be done to help with this. Common memory training activities include things like exercises with words and puzzles, arithmetic problems, and having patients practice doing everyday things, such as shopping. This cognitive approach can help with perception, thinking and remembering.
Physical, mental and social stimulation interventions focus more on the practical aspects of life. These include things such as preparing meals together, brushing teeth, making coffee or paying bills.
It is also important to include physical activities to improve endurance, strength, and balance. Physical activity has the same health benefits for those with dementia as it does for those without. Staying active will decrease the possibility of patients becoming bedridden, which contributes to a better quality of life. Combining different types of exercise will allow people with dementia to stay mobile longer and help them perform everyday activities on their own for a longer period of time. Walking, strength-building exercises, and other such exercises are just some of the options available. It may be helpful to customize the physical activity to the patient’s preferences.
Treating the emotional aspects of dementia is also vital in providing the best possible care. This treatment focuses on the feelings, values, and experiences of those who have dementia. Patients can become angry or depressed when they struggle to remember things that they used to have no trouble with or when they become unable to perform their routine activities. It is important for these patients to feel validated and understood. This helps them to feel safe and comfortable, with no fear of judgment for their behavior and acceptance of how they feel.
While further study should be conducted to determine the best practices in delivering non-drug treatment to patients with dementia, it has been shown that some of these strategies are helping patients retain their quality of life. In a disease without a cure, it is extremely important to find ways to decrease the intensity of the symptoms and provide the best overall care possible.
Award-Winning Memory Care in Harrisonburg, VA
Bellaire at Stone Port is among a new generation of communities specifically designed to incorporate recent advances in the understanding and care of residents with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. In our Innovations Memory Care Program, we treat each resident with the deference, dignity, and attention he or she deserves through a collaborative, family-oriented approach, integrating recommendations from each resident’s physician with counsel and direction from our Director of Memory Care, wellness team, residents, and their families to provide comprehensive care.