Dementia is a scary word. On the scale of life-changing diagnoses, dementia a progressive disease, for which there is no known cure, ranks high. Dementia is a terrifying disease for the individual and the people that love them. And while it is a scary illness in so many ways, there is a lot that can be done to understand this disease, slow its progression, receive support to diminish the fear that it causes and employ strategies to help a person with dementia live their best life.
The first step in diminishing fear is to learn and understand what Dementia is.
Dementia is an umbrella term that relates to a set of symptoms that affects the brain. Common symptoms associated with dementia include the ability to remember, think, make decisions, or perform everyday tasks without difficulty. These symptoms often have a domino effect in creating anxiety, stress, depression, paranoia and more. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and combined with other forms affects 747,000 Canadians and 44 million people worldwide. Dementia is an equal opportunity villain – preying on all regardless of race, religion, financial status, gender, and age. Yes, that’s right, age. Dementia doesn’t only affect the elderly but is often seen in people as young as 30.
As of right now, it is not known what directly causes dementia and there is no cure. Research and studies of the disease(s) suggest a link to neurodegenerative and vascular diseases, as well as head injuries increasing the chance of developing dementia. While there is no cure, there are medications and care/support options that can improve quality of life and slow the progression.
Rose Hill Lane (RHL) is proud to be a partner to the Alzheimer Society of Niagara Region and provide care for many of those living with dementia in our community. RHL PSWs are trained to care for the elderly with various care needs, and RHL prides itself on having a passionate team to care for those who need it in our community. Our approach to dementia care is to tailor the care to the individual and ensure that they receive the care they need with the feeling of dignity, comfort, and choice.
We employ a variety of researched and proven techniques to create an environment of meaningful engagement for our Alzheimer’s clients tailored to their condition, needs, and health objectives. Not every client is going to like a particular game or activity, so our approach is to speak with them to gain a better understanding of what they like to do. And what creates meaningful connections for them in what is a confusing and changing mental health conditions.
Some of our PSWs favourite moments with clients are looking through photo albums and talking about their younger years. Every Alzheimer’s patient can enjoy aspects of their daily living despite their limitations, and it’s our job to help them figure out what brings joy and meaning to their day. Activities can range from talking and reminiscing about their youth, playing games, doing puzzles, preparing simple recipes and gardening, crafts, and more – all of which are activities to keep their minds active and engaged.
We are committed to providing support for caregivers with our respite care service. Respite care is dedicated to providing a much-needed breather for individuals who are providing daily care to their loved ones who have received a dementia diagnosis. The further progressed the disease, the greater the need for regular respite care. For those living with dementia and those in the community, we also provide resources to educate and inform. As an unfortunately fast-progressing disease, we can only provide care to assist in slowing down the progression, educate, and use our voice to advocate for the dementia community.
Our most heartfelt appreciation to our community advocate – The Alzheimer Society of Niagara for their ongoing dedication and commitment to raising awareness, dispelling fear and providing Alzheimer’s patients and their loved ones with dignified and dependable support. An even bigger thank you to all the family caregivers who rise to the daily challenge of providing care. Caring for this disease is not easy and we want to be able to support you in any way we can.
Keep an eye out for our next post discussing common misconceptions about dementia.