What Is Dementia?

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Home Instead

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Jul 09, 2021

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Florida - Sarasota, Bradenton & Charlotte Counties

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Did you know that every three seconds, someone in the world is diagnosed with dementia? Millions of people across the world have dementia and millions more are supporting those living with dementia. But, what exactly is dementia? And, why is there a stigma associated with it?


Defining Dementia
Dementia is a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. There are many types of dementia, the most common type is Alzheimer's disease. When an individual is living with a form of dementia, the brain is experiencing changes due to the pathology or disease in the brain. As the disease progresses, the individual will exhibit symptoms.


10 Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's

Memory loss that disrupts daily life
Difficulty completing familiar tasks
Challenges with planning and problem solving
Confusion with time and place
Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
New problems with words in speaking or writing
Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
Decreased or poor judgment
Withdrawal from work or social activities
Changes in mood and personality


If these symptoms become noticeable to those close to the individual, it is important to schedule a medical appointment to help identify the root cause of these symptoms. If it is in fact dementia, it is imperative to get an early diagnosis.

Overcoming the Stigma
While there is currently not a cure for Alzheimer's disease, it does not mean life is over for an individual after a diagnosis. It is important to overcome the negative stigma by acknowledging who the individual is and was before the diagnosis. So often people living with Alzheimer's disease experience strain on family relationships, a withdrawal from friendships or exclusion from conversations by medical professionals. We can do our part to reduce the stigma by talking directly to the person living with dementia, empowering them with independence and supporting them when needed.
Caring for Someone with Dementia
When there is a dementia diagnosis, a person-centered care approach may be one approach considered to support the individual. The foundations for this approach include:
Getting to know the person
Maximizing independence
Personalizing care to meet individual needs and preferences
Adjusting care approaches to reflect day-to-day needs and abilities
Providing ongoing opportunities for engagement that have meaning and purpose

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