An old man diagnosed with dementia losing his memory.

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An old man diagnosed with dementia losing his memory.

Dementia Treatment: All you need to know

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Written by Bharat Hegde

Treatment for Dementia: The Options

“Who are you?”. What if a person who you have known for decades asks you this question. It is unthinkable and heartbreaking. This is just one of the few things that caregivers for individuals fighting dementia face. As the disorder slowly progresses, it erodes judgment and the memory of individuals. Individuals slowly lose the ability to complete their daily functions. Dementia is chronic and progressive. There is no definitive cure for the disorder. However, the disorder can be treated and its progress can be slowed down

Watching your loved one slowly lose their understanding of the world is difficult, we understand. But, there’s a lot you can do to help them feel more comfortable and help them understand the world better. Some of these you can help with, and for some, you will need the help of mental health professionals or mental health institutions. 

Dementia Medications: A Helping Hand

Medicines. One of our greatest defenses against illness and pain. Medicines are supposed to help cure us but sometimes, medicines have a different purpose. Medication for dementia is largely aimed at helping with the associated symptoms of the disorder.

Medications work on increasing the levels of certain chemical messengers within the brain that boost memory, judgment, and perception. The medications, if taken as prescribed, can slow the progression of the disorder for a period. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are a common class of medicine used for Lewy body dementia treatment and Vascular Dementia Treatment. Similar medicines are also used to help in Alzheimer’s Treatment and to help individuals with Parkinson’s as well.  

But, as the stages of Dementia progress, and certain symptoms get worse, the purpose of dementia also changes. In the later stages of the disorder, individuals start experiencing multiple symptoms like increased agitation, anxiety, wandering, aggression, delusions, and hallucinations. Medication is then used to manage these symptoms and help individuals from causing harm to themselves or others. 

Side Effects of Medication

Medication isn’t a magic bullet. It doesn’t just come and solve all the problems. However, it is very necessary. To keep adherence to a medication schedule, it is important to know the side effects of medication. Medicines prescribed for dementia can cause nausea, dizziness, and other side effects. 

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Beyond Medication: Therapeutic Approaches to Treat Dementia

There are treatment options beyond medicines as well. Multiple psychotherapeutic approaches are effective in helping individuals fight Dementia. Some of these approaches provide respite to the caregivers as well. Psychotherapeutic approaches work in helping an individual keep their functioning and relate to other individuals better. 

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy: Therapy can be fun

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy is an evidence-based therapeutic approach that helps people with mild to moderate dementia. It is a program of activities with a common theme that is carried out over several weeks. These help in improving memory and judgment in individuals with dementia.

Longer-term CST is aimed at keeping a person’s functionality intact. Sessions of CST are conducted in a safe environment to stimulate an individual and help them engage with other people who are fighting with Dementia as well. Skills remain sharp and CST is seen to be as effective as the multiple other types of treatments available for dementia. 

Reminiscence Therapy

Who we are is a collection of experiences we have been through and the memories that we accumulate over the years. So, when Dementia causes a person to slowly lose grasp over who they are as human beings, it becomes important and useful to help them take a journey back to who they were. 

Reminiscence Therapy is used to jog a person’s memory. The individuals are asked to remember specific parts of their past, they are asked to journal it, record it in a manner, and keep it with them. This helps them remember who they were and helps keep their memory as sharp as possible. 

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Rehabilitation for Dementia: What does it mean?

Unlike other illnesses, the purpose of rehabilitation for dementia is quite different. The main challenge, since the disorder affects the elderly disproportionately, is to keep the individuals engaged. Various activities are planned at a rehabilitation center that is aimed at keeping the individual’s cognitive abilities as sharp as possible. 

A rehabilitation center for Dementia, or a dementia care unit is aimed at protecting the elderly who are facing dementia. It has safe surroundings with all the necessary amenities. We understand that it is difficult to put your loved ones in a rehabilitation center but in the later stages of dementia that is the only choice. 

Advanced stages of dementia need constant nursing and care. The individuals need continuous medical attention. A rehab helps with all of this. It helps improve the quality of life and helps the elderly stay happy. Choose the right rehabilitation center for your loved ones!

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