Dementia, which means “loss of mind,” is chronic and is progressive. It’s caused by brain illnesses and affects the memory, behavior, thinking, reasoning skills and ability to do everyday tasks. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia. Other forms of dementia and diseases that cause dementia include vascular dementia, brain injury, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease and Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome commonly caused by alcohol abuse.
“I have met many people at different levels of memory loss. The one thing they all have in common is the families take on the brunt of the stress and get burnt out quickly,” said Jennifer Prell, president of Elderwerks Educational Services.
Here three things she wants you to know about dementia:
1. Although the condition predominantly affects older people, it is not a normal part of aging.
“Just because you are aging does not mean you will lose your memory and get dementia,” Prell said.
2. Caregivers experience an enormous amount of stress. The daily care of a loved one with dementia is physically and mentally exhausting. The caregivers usually get sick or die before the loved one with dementia.
“They give it all and shouldn’t. There’s help available,” Prell said. “Accepting help is the hard part.”
3. Early diagnosis can mean the difference in the person’s quality of life. Once diagnosed, planning for the physical health, activities, brain health and overall well-being is easier. Reacting to the dementia is much more stressful when you aren’t prepared.
“Society needs to be taught about dementia to decrease discrimination and improve the life of those with dementia,” Prell said. “Understanding, compassion and support of both the person with dementia and the caregiver makes all the difference. There are caregiver support groups across the nation. Join one today to get the support you deserve.”
Need help finding a support group, assistance at home or a new senior living option? Call Elderwerks for complimentary assistance.
Elderwerks Educational Services : 251 E. Northwest Highway, Palatine, IL 60067: 855.462.0100 : https://www.elderwerks.org/