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June 2018 Mall Walker Newsletter

Dealing with Dementia: Understanding and Patience are Critical

“Dementia” is the general term used to describe a decline in intellectual abilities that interferes with daily functioning. Dementia is the result of physical changes in the brain. Just like other chronic health issues, it is not something the person chooses to have, but is a condition beyond their control. There are many different causes and types of dementia. You can learn a lot about them. But knowing the cause or type isn’t as important as understanding how dementia affects a person’s reasoning, emotions and actions, and knowing how to appropriately care for and deal with them. Keep the following continually in mind:

• Memory: Memory loss is memory loss. Be patient with recurring questions or lost items. They simply can’t remember.
• Language: Some people have trouble finding the right words or understanding others. Accept the lack of understanding and change the conversation or task.
• Doing and planning things: Brain damage may prevent the person from being capable of or understanding the need to do things the “normal” or right way. They may eat with their hands or put clothes on wrong. Remember, it’s their brain’s fault, and they can’t learn. Simplify or assist with tasks to help them.
• Recognition: Dementia can keep people from understanding what or who they are seeing. They may not even recognize a carton of milk as being nutritious.


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