Getting diagnosed with a chronic and degenerative disease is a terrifying moment for those diagnosed and those that care for them. It can feel like it is the start of the end for that person and can often be seen as the first nail in the coffin.
We are here to tell you that dementia doesn’t have to be a death sentence. Allow us to explain exactly what we mean when we say that.
What Are the Actual Causes
First, it’s important to understand that late stage dementia can completely hamper a person’s quality of life. In many forms of dementia, late stage includes the inability to recognize friends and family, loss of motor control, and the inability to communicate. However, these do not usually cause the death of someone with dementia. It’s often other illnesses or physical ailments such as damage from a stroke or a lowered immune system due to pneumonia or other viral causes.
It is true, there is no cure for dementia. However, that does not mean that we haven’t found ways of slowing its effects.
While we usually jump to medications as a panacea for all that ails us, medication for those with dementia will not reverse the effects or help stop the degeneration. It can, at early stages help with increasing the production of the chemicals involved in memory storage and retention. This can help early on but the effectiveness of the drugs tends to decrease over time.
What Do We Do in Our Community?
At Kemper House Central Ohio, we believe in stimulating the mind and body of our residents to help slow down the effects of the disease. Our physical fitness program is built to help keep the circulatory system strong and includes brain exercises to keep the elasticity of the brain intact. Many patients with dementia can slow the degeneration of their minds by keeping active and keeping their bodies healthy.
We also use our Music and Memory program to keep our residents engaged and their minds active. In many cases, those suffering from memory loss haven’t completely lost their memories, so much as they need more effective cues to recall the information. Our memory of music is extremely strong and can help residents recall memories and people that were thought to be lost to the disease. Watching patients with dementia recall information from their past is an incredible experience.
Other factors that can help slow the progress of dementia include eating healthy foods as we outlined in our blog on The MIND Diet. Kemper House Central Ohio is also pet friendly. Pets have shown good effect on the standard of living for those with dementia and can help keep them calm and grounded.
We cannot stress enough, the diagnosis of any form of dementia does not mean it’s time to give up and say your goodbyes. Many of those diagnosed with dementia can live up to 20 years! And most of those deaths are caused by something other than dementia.
A diagnosis is not the end, it can be the beginning of a new chapter. Something that you have to take into account and prepare for in order to keep yourself safe. Don’t stop living your life because of a diagnosis. Better yet, keep living!