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What we can learn from Dementia sufferers

• Written by Thom

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What with the recent studies showing that Ex-Footballers may be at greater risk of developing Dementia symptoms, we thought it would be good to revisit previous articles written about Dementia.

Here's what we can learn from studies in which Dementia sufferers were asked about their experiences.

Signs of Dementia

Of course dementia can be very hard to detect early on. Especially because you're probably not looking out for it, and you shouldn't have to look out for it. However there are a few signs that if you know about could prepare you for the uphill battle ahead.

Additionally dementia can take years to develop and other times it can be in a matter of months. Some warning signs for dementia can be:

  • Difficulty acting out regular or familiar tasks - Meal preparations, showering, shopping.
  • Problems with speech and language - Forgetting the proper words to convey their thoughts.
  • Changes in moods and or behaviour - People suffering from dementia moods can alter like a click of a finger and can be for prolonged periods of time.
  • Personality differences - A spike in personality changes could turn the bravest person into a fearful one. They can start showing a lack of interests in previously loved activities. Confused and withdrawn are also other possible changes.
  • Impaired Judgement - Unacknowledging safety risks that can put them or anyone around them at risk.

Change in humour

For some time, studies have found that dementia sufferers prefer slapstick comedy to satirical humour. We now know that changes in someone's humour may be one of the early signs of dementia. The families of dementia sufferers noticed that relatives had developed an appreciation of 'darker' jokes. One example is laughing at events that others don't find funny, such as a badly parked car, or even laughing inappropriately at tragic events.

Nearly all of the respondents said, with hindsight, a shift had occurred in the nine years before the dementia had been diagnosed. After asking several dementia sufferers and their families,

For more information about this research, read the full BBC article. The study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

How to look after Dementia sufferers

  • Everyday Care - as dementia progresses, dementia sufferers may need more help to get dressed and wash themselves. It's also important that you ensure they eat a well balanced diet and keep an active healthy lifestyle.
  • Handling Their Behaviour - it can be distressing looking after a dementia sufferer, they can be; aggressive, confused and behave very differently. It is normal to experience a sense of grief for your loved one as the dementia progresses.
  • Care Alarms and Services - if you cannot be there to look after your loved one yourself there are other options. If they want to stay in their homes, and it is not a danger for them to do so, you can get a carer to come and help them with everyday tasks. Secondly, you can install alarms to help ensure they have help on hand.

Share your experiences

Looking back, did your own relative show early signs of dementia before it was diagnosed? If so, share your advice with us to those wondering about dementia on Twitter @Lifeline24. By doing so, you could really help out someone who is in the position you were once in, or find help yourself!

Maybe you're worried about becoming a dementia sufferer yourself, is it something you speak to your doctor about? Read our post, 'Alzheimer’s or Just Getting Old?' for more information about Alzheimer's. Furthermore, if you have any concerns about someone who already has an alarm, be sure to get in touch and see what additional safety measures we can put in place.

 

Updated 16/01/2020

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