Dementia is a syndrome of chronic or progressive nature that hinders the way of life for senior citizens. This syndrome causes deterioration of memory, poor thinking-decision making and even affects the person’s ability to perform daily activities. While it affects older people, it is not a part of the normal aging process and can take anyone by surprise when the first symptoms start appearing.
Dementia and its symptoms while changing everyday life can also have a deep impact on the mental health of its patients.
Elders with dementia slowly begin losing confidence in themselves and their abilities to even live independently. Given the nature of the syndrome, their family members may not prefer leaving them alone or may behave differently than before to make things easier for them. These little yet noticeable changes may make dementia patients feel as if they are not in control of their life or make them rethink their decisions which severely affects their self-esteem. Additionally, they may also feel like a burden on their family as often they cannot even manage their finances or take care of their health as they previously used to.
Given the changes happening around them and in them, often dementia patients cannot control or understand their emotions. While they may be feeling happy or content, they may not be able to express it effectively. Often they may seem uninterested and distant or they might even snap or overreact to situations. These sudden mood swings or erratic behavior can be attributed to their inability to think clearly and process their own emotions to express them to their family members.
Dementia comes with memory loss which is difficult for the family members but more so awful for the patient. Elders with dementia often forget names of things and people, they forget a part or the entire cherished memory, they even forget crucial things like grooming themselves. It is often seen that they also lose track of time and may jumble up historical or political events/information. However, it starts off with simple forgetfulness. They forget if the gas stove is on, if they have the house keys or not, which bus will lead them home, and so on. These gradual changes leave elders confused and agitated because even if reminded, they might not remember what they have forgotten.
Knowing that you might forget a major chunk of your life one day seems stressful, now imagine living through it. The things they once loved seem harder to remember and with the side effects of multiple dementia management medicines, many patients often slip into depression. Other reasons why they might suffer from depression might be isolation from the life they had, limited social circle, tiredness, and environmental factors like loud noises and crowds. They might express this by being irritable and angry.
Patients with dementia often experience a range of situations that may not seem the way they are. While their hallucinations and delusions are imaginary, they may seem extremely real to them which causes them to panic, have anxiety attacks, and even paranoia.
While dementia itself is a mentally taxing syndrome, its effects too leave a lasting impact on the patient. If you have a family member who is suffering from dementia, Samvedna senior care services have several dementia care programs that provide hands-on solutions to ease the patient’s problems. They also provide support to the caregiver through their counseling sessions that help them care better for their patient.