This is a personal post for me. My father has been dealing with dementia for the last four years now, and he’s getting ready to move into a memory care facility.
The irony of my job is that several dementia-related projects have crossed my desk in the last year, allowing me to learn about the disease, how it progresses, and how one can slow it down. Unfortunately, my father didn’t want to believe that there is no cure or that it would only continue to get worse. He continues to ask for a car, and he thinks he’d be able to get better if he only had the right medicine.
There is no cure, and if you have irreversible dementia (as he does), there’s no way for your memory to return. But, with medications (prescribed by a doctor) and some types of therapy, the process of the disease can be slowed down. To know more, read on.
What is dementia, and how does rehabilitation therapy help?
Getting older can be scary. We worry about weaker bones and osteoporosis. We worry about losing our balance and falling, which can lead to serious injury. And many of us worry about losing our memory. Older adults and their family members should know that there is a difference between becoming a little more forgetful (what some elders call their “senior moments”) and the early signs of dementia.
Dementia is more than being forgetful; it’s categorized by the loss of cognitive skills, or the way that a person can consider and make decisions. The National Institutes of Health explain that compared to mild forgetfulness, dementia impacts daily life, interferes with decision-making, and affects every-day tasks. Dementia can affect “memory, language skills, visual perception, and the ability to focus and pay attention.” It is caused by damage to brain cells; when the brain’s cells can’t communicate properly, the way we navigate the world around us is affected.