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World Alzehimer's Day 2020: Let's talk about dementia

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World Alzheimer's Day is an international campaign to raise awareness about the issues faced by people who have dementia. It is an opportunity for everyone to know how collectively we can overcome these issues by helping people live well with dementia.

World Alzehimer's Day 2020: Let's talk about dementia
Dementia is a chronic syndrome in which people face deterioration in cognitive functions like memory, thinking, behavior, and performing everyday activities. The impairment in cognitive function is usually accompanied, occasionally preceded, by a decline in emotional control, social behavior, or motivation, according to the World Health Organisation.
Dementia mainly affects older people; however, it is not a normal part of growing old. It can be overwhelming for the patients in the way that their careers and families are affected. This impact can be physical, psychological, social, and economical.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, and it contributes to 60-70 percent of cases.
World Alzheimer's Day is an international campaign to raise awareness about the issues faced by people who have dementia. It is an opportunity for everyone to understand how collectively we can overcome these issues by helping people live well with dementia.
This year, the theme for World Alzheimer's Day is "Let's talk about dementia". One way to talk about it is knowing what the disease is and how you can help those suffering from the disease.
Signs and Symptoms
The disease develops in three stages:
Early-stage: This early stage is often overlooked because the development of the disease is progressive. The common symptoms are:
  • forgetfulness
  • losing track of time
  • getting lost in familiar places
  • Middle Stage: In this stage, the signs gradually become more apparent and more restricting for the patient. Symptoms include:
    • forgetting recent events and names of people
    • becoming lost at home
    • having difficulty communicating
    • needing help with personal care
    • experiencing behavior changes, including wandering and repeated questioning.
    • Later stage: The patient is entirely dependent on the carer and doesn't show any activity. The physical signs and symptoms of the disease become more apparent, with severe memory disturbances. Symptoms include:
      • acutely unaware of time and place
      • having difficulty recognizing friends and relatives
      • having an increasing need for self-care
      • having difficulty walking
      • experiencing behavior changes that may escalate into aggression
      • Treatment and Care
        Currently, according to WHO, there is no treatment available to cure dementia or to alter its progressive course. However, there are numerous treatments available in clinical trials.
        Families and carers of the people with dementia can bring a world of change in their lives by merely talking about it.
        Tips for caring for someone with Alzheimer's
        Communication
        For people suffering from dementia, your attention means a lot. So spend time with them and talk to them whenever you can. However, as the disease progresses, communicating with them is not an easy task, which is why you should be increasingly gentle with them. Talk about things they used to love and still love and listen to them while they speak.
        Patience
        With time, caring for them becomes difficult; the key is to be patient during times like these. Do not respond to them with anger, be gentle, and open to them always. It takes a lot of practice and patience, but it is worth it. Remember, your agitation might further agitate them, making the situation even more challenging to handle.
        Safe Environment
        With the progression of the disease, the judgment of the person suffering from dementia worsens. This is why one needs to be extra cautious while dealing with them. Keep the environment around the patient safe by removing all the potentially harming objects away from them. From sharp objects like knives to medicines and alcohol, everything should be kept away from them.
        This World Alzheimer's Day, let's try to become more empathetic and aware of the troubles of those living with dementia.
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