While not a disease in and of itself, dementia is an overall term used to describe a group of symptoms associated with a decline in cognitive ability. Dementia can affect an individual’s memory or thinking skills enough to impact their ability to perform daily activities.
Symptoms of dementia can vary greatly from one person to another. However, at least two core mental functions – including memory, communication and language, ability to focus, reasoning and judgment, and visual perception – must be significantly impaired to be considered dementia.
Dementia affects people in phases, typically a downward trajectory of mild, moderate and severe. As dementia progresses, individuals will need additional support with most, or all of the following:
- Disturbing behavior
- Eating and nutrition
In mild dementia, individuals may have trouble learning new information or remembering things, such as common words or others’ names. They may also experience anxiety, sadness, or a loss of interest in activities. Most often, they need assistance with day-to-day tasks, such as driving, as well as companionship to ensure they remain safe in their homes.
With moderate dementia, sensory processing, physical function and judgment are all affected. This is when issues with wandering, hygiene or language may begin to occur.
As an individual progresses from mild to moderate dementia, a caregiver should be aware of dangers, and reasonable home modifications should be made. These can include moving or removing throw rugs, for example, to prevent trips and falls. Locks and safety latches should be installed as wandering becomes more frequent, and many individuals with moderate dementia will begin to need restroom facilities or accommodations in their bedrooms.
Individuals with severe dementia typically require round-the-clock care, as there is often vast memory loss and limited to no mobility. They may also experience issues with incontinence, problems eating and swallowing, as well as difficulty recognizing loved ones.
Severe dementia is incredibly stressful for family members and caregivers. As dementia advances on its spectrum, the need for care and level of care will increase.
Whether a couple of hours per day or around-the-clock care, 1776 Senior Care offers specialized in-home care for your loved one with dementia. We strive to be a partner in your family member’s caregiving. Call 1776 Senior Care to schedule an In-Home Assessment at 630.469.4515.