People who have acquired misconceptions about dementia would be surprised to learn that it is not a specific disease. Rather, dementia describes a group of diseases that effect the brain, usually in later life. The word dementia comes from two Latin words meaning away and mind (Mace and Rabins, 1991, p. 6). Changes to the mind during the dementia process happen over a long period of time and show no visible changes. Dementia impairs mental power, which leads individuals to become unable to complete activities that are necessary in everyday life. Although most forms of dementia are irreversible and progressive, meaning there is no cure and that they become worse with time, there are some forms that may be reversed.
There are twelve forms of identified dementia, although several of these are uncommon. The most common form of dementia is known as Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for sixty to eighty percent of all dementia cases (Mace & Rabins, 1991). Vascular dementia, previously known as multi-infarct dementia, is the second most common. Other types of dementia include Lewy body dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and Frontotemperal dementia.
Approximately five million people age sixty-five and older s...
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...s. It is important to provide the patient with calendars and clocks in visible places. Labeling drawers and doors, such as “shirts” and “bathroom” can be beneficial. It is also advantageous to establish a daily routine consisting of meals and activities that are put into place in order to establish time markers for the day.
During the middle stage of dementia, family members continue to do things they did in the first stage as long as possible. As dementia worsens, these efforts will lose their effects and new ways of assisting the patient will have to be established. Typically, demented patients in the middle stage of dementia benefit from constant reminders. They may need supervision and assistance with many activities. In this stage, the patient may begin to have a hard time “finding words” and will most likely fail to possess complete thought process.
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