Let's explore some of the most common myths surrounding dementia and how you can better assist your loved one!
1. Is dementia the same as Alzheimers Disease?
Dementia is the term used for the loss of memory and cognitive functions that affect daily life. Alzheimer's is a disease that has dementia as a symptom, and is the leading cause of dementia in seniors. However, the presence of dementia does not guarantee that your loved one has Alzheimer's disease. The Alzheimer's Association has a lot of great information on dementia and Alzheimer's disease, including symptoms and treatment options. Click Here to read their article.
2. Does my loved one have to be institutionalized?
A diagnosis of dementia does not mean a person cannot live a healthy, active life! In fact, studies show that making healthy choices and staying socially and physically active can help to slow the progression of dementia. Games and activities that stimulate the mind, such as crosswords, word finds, sudoku, name that tune, etc...are wonderful ways to also stay connected and have fun with your loved one!
3. Are all dementia patients aggressive?
Agitation and aggression aren't typical symptoms of dementia. Dementia can cause anxiety, confusion, and miscommunications as cognitive functions decline. These feelings can cause additional stress on a person, causing adverse behavioral or psychological behaviors. Making sure that interactions are positive, patient, and that you take time to read their emotional cues can help reduce agitation. Partner with their doctor to help control the symptoms as needed. There are wonderful medication options that can help them to feel calm and able to thrive, without causing unnecessary drowsiness or lethargy.
4. Should I keep reminding my loved one about a spouse or child who passed away?
The Help for Alzheimer's Families website has great advice about this issue, "First, you will need to gauge your loved one’s ability to remember. If your loved one does not remember what you share about the deceased person from visit to visit, you may be able to use a memory or a story about the person to explain their absence in a way that satisfies your loved one’s curiosity, but yet does not upset them. It may be hard not to think of this approach like lying, but your loved one’s reality is much different from yours.
If you can try to understand their reality first, perhaps it will help you let go of the guilt you feel from not telling them the cold, hard truth. It may be what’s necessary to bring them comfort."
Choosing a long term care option for your aging loved one is always a difficult task. Here at Stonehenge Senior Living, we assist our residents of all care levels to thrive! We have residents with varying levels of dementia and tailor their care specifically to fit their needs. We make sure they are loved and cared for, so you can focus on quality interactions and making memories!