1. Dementia is a term that is used for describing mental deterioration, i.e., decline in the mental ability that severely interferes in the daily routine life of the individual (Keady). An example of dementia is memory loss. A common and major type of dementia is Alzheimer. Memory loss is an example. Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia. In the case of dementia, following mental functions are usually impaired, memory, communication, ability of paying attention and focusing, judgment and reasoning, and visual perception, at least two of these functions are impaired in most of the patients.
2. The conditions that are responsible for causing dementia in older people are Alzheimer’s disease and stroke, which is also known as Multi-Infarct Dementia (Andrade, and Radhakrishnan). Alzheimer’s disease is, however, a progressive that ultimately pave the way to serious impairment in various areas of the mental functioning. For example, an individual with the Alzheimer’s disease may develop mild symptoms in the beginning, then he/she may not remember anything such as a use of the cup for drinking purpose etc, and ultimately he/she may not recognize anyone. Moreover, stroke results in damaging one or more brain parts. However, strokes may rigorously affect the physical or the mental functioning, while leaving the other areas unaffected. For example, an individual having stroke may develop poor or the short term memory (Cayton). But, he/she may have an excellent long term memory, he/she may face difficulty in expressing thoughts, but he/she is capable of thinking clearly.
3. Dementia does not represent a mental illness in itself. Some individuals with the Alzheimer’s disease however, may develop behavioral as well as psychiatric symptoms being a part of this process of disease (Targum). Furthermore, co-existing conditions such as anxiety and depression can be found in some individuals suffering from dementia. Further, behavioral and the psychiatric symptoms, which include severe anxiety, obsessed thoughts, and agitation, can be treated with the help of medicines. But, before arriving at a final decision that the symptom needs treatment with proper medication, it is necessary to rule out the other associated causes. For example, agitation may be because of hunger, pain, side effects of medicine, and constipation etc.
4. Some people with dementia are competent to make decisions for their selves, and some are not (Leo). A psychiatrist or a neurologist can advise and evaluate considering the competency. For example, a person suffering from short-term memory loss may be capable enough to make decision alone for himself/herself. On the other hand, an individual that is suffering from intense impairments in several areas of the mental functioning may not be capable enough to understand the associated facts and figures and hence makes rational judgment and decisions.
5. In order to communicate with people suffering from dementia, the surrounding should be made simple and properly organized. Placement of the identification signs on the drawers, and doors can help in the reduction of confusion of such individuals suffering from dementia. Furthermore, display of the certain images in home can be useful in this regard, such as placing a large sticker next to the speed dial number in the telephone of such person will help him/her in dialing a number easily. Further, it should be tried to speak politely, softly, slowly, and calmly, criticism should be avoided, the person should be praised, impatient should not be displaced in front of such individuals. Arguments should be avoided, even in the case the person does not perceive correctly. Further, Communication is not all about words, it also include touch, in case of old people suffering from dementia, hugging and holding the hand a of person can be useful, as it convey affection as well as love that help them to accept the environment.
Radhakrishnan, Rajiv. "The Prevention and Treatment Of Cognitive Decline And Dementia: An Overview Of Recent Research On Experimental Treatments." Indian Journal Of Psychiatry 51: 12-25. Print.
Keady, John. Community mental health nursing and dementia care practice perspectives. Berkshire, England: McGraw-Hill International, 2003. Print.
Cayton, Harry. Alzheimers and Other Dementias. Finland: Class Publishing Ltd, 2007. Print.
Targum, Steven D.. "Treating Psychotic Symptoms in Elderly Patients." The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 3: 156-163. Print.
Leo, Raphael J. "Competency and the Capacity to Make Treatment Decisions: A Primer for Primary Care Physicians." Prim Care Companion Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 1: 131-141. Print.