What is dementia?
Dementia can be defined as the loss of one’s cognitive functioning, to a level where it has an influence over someone’s daily life and activities.
These deviations trigger a noticeable decline in one’s cognitive capabilities, resulting in a devastating loss of a person’s independent function. This creates a snowball effect resulting in possible changes in behavior, relationships, as well as personality and feelings.
What is it caused by?
Dementia is a result of damage occurring to one’s brain nerve cells, the damage obstructs the brain’s capability to send and receive messages, this averts the human body from operating regularly.
Studies show that it is mostly caused by Alzheimer’s disease, around 60-80% of dementia patients are diagnosed with this illness as a result of Alzheimer’s disease.
Other causes include Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia, and frontotemporal dementia. In some cases, it can also be caused by a severe head injury or simply by inherited dementia.
How does it affect day-to-day activities?
Dementia not only debilitates one’s mental capabilities, it unfortunately also takes away much more than memory. It is known to be progressive, therefore at first the symptoms are not intense, a person may need reminders to carry out daily activities such as bathing.
In the more progressive stages of the illness, it is very likely that a patient would require an aid in order to bathe. They would also need help with the simple tasks such as getting dressed, going to the bathroom, and eating.
In severe cases, a dementia patient would require full time care as they wouldn’t be capable of carrying out all the basic tasks on their own.
Accepting a positive diagnosis
Accepting a dementia diagnosis cannot be easy, it affects a patient both mentally and physically. A patient will go through a range of emotions, and possibly get stuck between emotions as they are accepting the facts.
Dementia patients may have to deal with psychological repercussions as they may lose their confidence and self-esteem, they may feel alienated by society because they are different. Surprisingly, some patients take the diagnosis as good news as they feel a sense of relief knowing what the health issue is.
They will go through a range of negative emotions which will impact their mental and physical well-being. Emotions ranging from grief to loss will emerge post diagnosis, the emotion which usually impacts dementia patients the most is loss, they feel like they lost control over everything, from their capabilities to simple control over their own lives.
How does dementia affect the quality of life?
In most cases the quality of life of a dementia patient will face a decline, as the illness progresses they will become more and more dependent on a caretaker or assistant. They will need someone to help them complete the simplest of tasks, they feel a loss of control over their own lives, which will naturally take a toll on their mental health.
Drugs and other measures such as therapy are possible ways to help a patient, accepting help could majorly shift a patent’s attitude from angry and afraid to accepting and hopeful. Taking one of these measures could play a big role in improving the effects of the illness’s symptoms.
To conclude, this illness is quite difficult to deal with, as patients lose their independence they experience a range of negative emotions which then contributes to a decline in their psychological health. Seeing how this negatively impacts their day-to-day life as well as their quality of life, it is considered normal to experience anxiety or depression as a result. Measures can be taken to try to improve their quality of life, but as the illness progresses, it will become more challenging to keep a positive attitude.
Interested in learning more? Speak to a Higher Education Consultant for a consultation.