Dementia is a condition when an individual losses his mental capabilities progressively, making the person unable to recall some memories. He/she cannot sometimes understand or grasp even everyday activities, and may even lose ability to speak and express themselves properly.
Dementia can cause resident to become disoriented and they can become unable to recall what time and date it is. Confusion is present with this kind of condition so even they may not be able to recall who they are and what they are doing.
As time goes by and this disorder progresses the affected individual may become depressed and even paranoid of other people, even the healthcare staff. They become frightened and upset because they are always adapting to the changing environment. That is why handling them can become a challenge to even the most experienced caregiver.
Dementia is not a part of normal ageing process because not all old people get it. However, this can be a great problem not only to the resident himself, but also to his loved ones since they cannot function normally.
As the condition progresses, the resident may become unable to move. Immobility of a resident can make him more prone to other complications and diseases which in return can cause death.
Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease
Dementia is associated with many diseases, but they are commonly seen in clients with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a condition where residents experience dementia that is irreversible and is common for people over 65. This condition does affect men and women and decreases their ability to use their cognitive function.
Some residents experience frustration and depression with this condition, so it is important that they are given the right help, in order for them to get back their self-esteem and positive outlook in life.
The change in the normal functions can make the resident upset and sometimes violent. Simple day to day tasks can be more difficult for them to accomplish as the condition progresses. They might even be hearing or seeing things which might not be there and become suspicious of other people.
Due to disorientation, they may wander around and lose their appetite, leading to malnutrition if not treated. The later stages of the Alzheimer’s make the person unable to recognize others making them afraid of people around him and avoid communication.
Special care for residents with Alzheimer should be provided in order to prevent injuries and help them in maintaining their daily functions. Care plan should include precautionary measures that protect and also re-assure the patient of the safety of the environment. Keeping the environment clean and maintaining a routine are equally important for these patients.
To keep the resident safe side rails and other safety equipments should be used. People with dementia are forgetful and disoriented, so it is important to explain all the procedures to them and make sure that the care plan is followed.
In times of disorientation it is important to re-orient them while also be careful of touching them as they may become aggressive towards you. As said earlier, it is also important to involve the family and loved ones in the care plan, providing the resident with emotional support and also updating them of the status of the resident.