People who have spent a great deal of time with those with Alzheimer’s disease begin to notice behavioral patterns that are common between them. One of the most commonly recognized behavioral patterns associated with dementia is confusion, agitation and aggression associated with the late afternoon when the sun is setting. This phenomenon is known as sundowning and has been well-recognized within the medical and healthcare setting as well as in the literature in the fields of neurology and brain health.
Navigating a new diagnosis of dementia can be challenging for older adults and their loved ones. Even for those who have had dementia for many years, the onset of new symptoms such as bladder or bowel incontinence can be concerning or difficult in many ways.
Dementia affects approximately 4 to 5 million people across the United States and is one of the leading causes of death among seniors over 65. Dementia differs from general cognitive decline due to aging in that functioning decreases more rapidly and interferes significantly with daily activities.
One of the challenges of caring for those with dementia or declining mental faculties is the risk of physical assault from the patient. These attacks can often occur unprovoked and can take the caregiver completely by surprise. When faced with this possibility, caregivers can take precautions to protect themselves, but also to protect the health and future care of the patient themselves.
Medical professionals in the United States have defined dementia as a condition with seven distinct stages, ranging from a state of non-impairment to a very severe cognitive decline. Recognizing and identifying the stage and level of dementia care required for an individual is in can be complicated, as the symptoms of dementia are only relevant when compared to a person's "normal" mental state. The seven stages of dementia are:
Looking after a loved one with dementia can be challenging. Finding the right form of care management often feels like a daunting task due to the amount of physical and emotional support your senior relative may need. Luckily, there are many options for families and their loved ones. Finding care that’s exactly the right fit for your circumstances is feasible with a little research.