Monday, February 13, 2012

Dealing With Dementia

Saw an interesting article this morning.

It's about dementia, and how the number of people suffering from it is increasing, as the population ages.

The most interesting bit had to do with how it's possible for someone to converse easily, sound like they are making sense, and fool everyone around them into thinking they are fine, when they are not. This happens frequently, that people adjust and hide their difficulties, and the people around them make allowances, or simply don't see it. Especially in couples who have been married for decades, they simply complete each other's thoughts and sentences- and cover for each other.

I'm pretty sure I've seen this. Sometimes, it's obvious; other times, not so much.

It's why it's important to really establish whether your patient is oriented accurately, or can just answer questions well. I once had a fairly lengthy conversation with someone before realizing he had no idea whatsoever where and when he was. Sometimes people are remembering something they've done a thousand times, so it sounds and feels like a recent memory, but it isn't. They can talk about it like it happened yesterday- but it was 50 years ago.

One of the things the article mentions is something I've never done.
It talks about how in cases of dementia, there might be things in the environment that are out of place, or clearly wrong. No food in the refrigerator, things in the wrong place, that sort of thing.

It all comes down to something we should already be doing: paying attention.

Sometimes, we're the only care these people get, the only people who see in their houses.  It's not like I want to turn into some sort of weird EMS stalker, but I think there is a place for us to keep an eye on people who are alone, and who may need help but not even know it.

1 comment:

  1. Caring for a loved one with dementia can be extremely frustrating emotionally and also physically.

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