Dementia is a progressive illness which causes the brain functions to decrease, until it progresses so much that it fails, resulting in death. The prognosis for someone suffering with dementia varies depending on what type of dementia they have. For example; Picks Disease- this form of dementia is aggressive and life expectancy is short (1-2 years) Vascular Dementia- this can be caused by a stroke. Alzheimer’s Dementia- usually has a long life expectancy. Eventually the brain begins to forget things, which effects everyday functioning. People become fragile and dependent on the care of others. These are the ways that any type of dementia is classed as a terminal illness;
• Memory loss- this symptom is usually occurred at the start of early Dementia but can worsen at later stages. Which can effect both long term and short term memory. They can forget their whereabouts, familiar faces, loved ones, day to day objects, all of this can cause someone with dementia to become very depressed and anxious. Leading to oncoming accidents. Ways to help someone with memory loss. Avoid telling the person they have heard the information before, ask yourself whether it really matters if the person remembers a recent conversation or event. Forcing the matter can makes things worse, set up a regular routine, encourage them to use a diary or journal to record things that have happened, pictures and words are useful tools, instead of asking vague questions. For example, ‘It must be a while since breakfast. Are you hungry?’ rather than ‘Have you had breakfast?, focus on one thing at a time: giving the person too much information may be overwhelming, Keep information simple, and repeat it often, reduce distractions such as background noise and keep questions simple and specific, for example ‘Do you want tea or coffee?’ rather than, ‘What would you like to drink?’ This helps the person to make a choice by narrowing down options.
• Communication skills- people with Dementia experience stages of not being able to communicate to their full extent compared to someone without dementia. They might struggle with understanding, retaining and communicating information. This can cause someone to feel very lonely, isolated and frightening. Dementia can cause difficulty of speech or complete loss of speech. We as careers have a duty of care to be able to find other ways in which it makes it easier for them to communicate with us. Or communicate at all with us. such as… speak clearly and slowly, using short sentences, make eye contact, give them time to respond, encourage them to join in conversations with others, let them speak for themselves, try not to patronise them, or mock what they say, acknowledge what they have said, give them simple choices and rephrasing questions because they can’t answer in the way they used to.
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