Although dementia mainly affects older people, it is not recognized as a normal part of the aging process. Dementia can affect numerous aspects of an individual’s life as well as their friends and loved ones.
Even if you have your suspicions, a family member or you getting diagnosed with dementia can come as a very sudden shock, and may be emotionally overwhelming to all the parties involved. It is important to continue to do the things that they enjoy in life and should try to remain as independent as possible.
As time goes on, the symptoms of dementia will gradually worsen, and they may require more assistance or intensive care. The rate of deterioration is dependent on how healthy of a lifestyle the individual lives as well as the type of dementia they have.
Although there is no way to provide complete relief of all the symptoms, maintaining regular sleep patterns, socializing, exercising often and getting enough cognitive stimulation are all things that will help maintain a normal level of functioning for as long as possible.
Living a healthy lifestyle is important for everyone but especially so for those with dementia. Below are a few tips to try to slow the progression of the disease, make it easier or more bearable for the patient and generally reduce your risk of development;
Just as exercise leads to a healthy body, it also does wonders for the mind. Not only does it reduce cognitive decline but it also boosts cognitive performance. You are not required to do any excessive levels of working out, but research has found that exercising as much as 3 times a week can decrease your risk of developing dementia. Age does not matter either, as you can still reap these benefits even if you start later in life.
A diet that consists of colorful fruits, vegetable and whole grains may reduce the risk of developing dementia. These foods protect neurons from free radicals (chemicals that damage cells). Other foods that may aid in preventing dementia is curcumin, and omega 3 fatty acids found in fish.
Maintaining a Social Life
It is easy to feel isolated if you or a loved one has dementia, but keeping in contact with other people is an important part of keeping dementia victim active and stimulated. It may also help to join a local group of people with dementia and their families. Being a part of a community of people, who are sharing similar experiences with you may help you gain insight or even find useful tips in dealing with dementia.
Keep Written Reminders/Logs
It can be useful to keep a diary to write down important things that you feel you may need to remember. In addition to this, writing simple reminders to yourself on post it notes, or cupboards and drawers have also proved to be useful to some dementia sufferers.
Adopt Good Sleeping Habits
It is common for people with dementia to have difficulty sleeping where they wake up during the night or generally feel restless. Sometimes they may have painful side effects, as a result of their condition which may also interfere with sleep. Sleeping pills are an option to deal with the issue, however, it is usually best to have strict rules such as no naps during the day, no alcohol or caffeine at night and keeping a regular bedtime.
Keeping Active and Occupied
People with dementia, are often forced to stop doing the things that they love but it is important to try to continue to enjoy your hobbies as much as possible. They keep the patient alert and stimulated and so they continue to have an interest in life. The activities may change as the symptoms of dementia worsens but they should still enjoy their free time.