Dementia is a term used to describe a range of symptoms that affect a person's cognitive abilities, including memory, thinking, and communicative skills. It is a progressive condition that often affects older adults but can also occur in younger people. Dementia is not a specific disease, but rather a collection of symptoms caused by a variety of underlying conditions. Currently, according to Dementia Statistics Hub, worldwide there are more than 55 million people worldwide living with dementia, with 10 million new cases every year.
Causes and Risk Factors
Dementia can be caused by a variety of underlying conditions-
In some cases, dementia may be caused by a combination of these conditions.
There are also several risk factors that may increase the likelihood of developing dementia-
Family history of dementia
Lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise
Being socially isolated
Overweight and obesity
Symptoms of Dementia-
Symptoms of dementia may vary depending on the underlying cause and stage of progression. Especially during the early stages of dementia, each individual can experience various symptoms.
However, some of the most common symptoms include-
Memory loss- not being able to recall recent situations.
Difficulty with language- not being able to communicate properly or struggling to find the right word to say.
Being confused about times and places- not knowing the time or where they are.
Mood changes – sudden unquestionable changes in mood
As Dementia progresses, the symptoms may also change and become more noticeable, these can include-
Sleep problems- unable to sleep properly or change in sleeping patterns.
Aggressive behaviour- behaviour that is out of character, or verbally and physically aggressive.
Extreme confusion- unable to recognise family members.
Treatment for dementia
Although there is currently no treatment for dementia, there are several strategies to manage and treat dementia, to maintain a better quality of life.
Being physically active.
Taking part in cognitive activities to stimulate the brain.
Medicines to control blood pressure can prevent additional damage to the brain.
You can also find more treatments-
Those diagnosed with dementia can also ensure they undergo self-care, this can also help to manage further symptoms.
Stop drinking and smoking.
Write down reminders to prevent forgetting.
Spend time with family and friends.
Keep up with your hobbies or do things you enjoy.
Impact on family members
Dementia not only affects the individual with the condition but also has a significant impact on their family and caregivers. Family members often take on the responsibility of caring for their loved one with dementia, which can be emotionally and physically draining. The changes in the individual suffering from dementia such as their behaviour and personality can also strain relationships and cause conflicts.
It's essential for families to seek support and resources to help manage the impact of dementia on both the individual with the condition and their caregivers.
There are many useful resources online, which can offer help and guidance for those affected
We support a number of social workers and nurses into work who care for Dementia Patients, both in a hospital and residential setting. Take a look at our vacancies to browse our current opportunities in that field.
Want to know what qualifications you need to get into nursing? Visit our blog, Pathways into Nursing.