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Dealing with Dementia

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by Ms Velda Mings

Dementia is an affliction in the elderly that is not understood by many. As a result many of them are called stubborn, miserable liars. An understanding of it would help both the caregiver and the afflicted.

What is it?

“It is a physically based disease resulting from a loss of brain cells. Brain function or certain aspects of brain function decline to the point that mental disability results” – Phyllis Balch, C.N.C

Dementia is characterized by a slow progressive decline in mental function in which memory, thinking, judgment and the ability to learn are impaired. It can be caused by a brain tumor, strokes, sensitivity to drugs, sleeping tablets and/or vitamin deficiency.

Persons with Dementia experience a severe loss of memory. Not only do they forget to eat but also that they have eaten. They forget faces, places and time of the day or night. Supervision, therefore, becomes a must, as they can easily wander away and get lost.

Anyone can have this affliction. It must not be treated lightly. Persons with Dementia need good caregivers. They need love, patience and understanding. Their behavior is not normal although some of them speak very well at times. Some experts believe that the best place for them to live is in their own home with a sympathetic, trained caregiver. Such a person will be required to will look after the patient’s physical appearance, their diet, and their surroundings.

Some hold the view that persons with Dementia tend to become disoriented in large mental institutions. The constant change of staff, the large number of patients and lack of individual attention, may cause discomfort.

Cynthia Soucy of Harborsite Health Care, found that Sensory Hands, massage of the hands in an atmosphere of music , was a great help.

Richard Taylor found that they should be allowed to take part in activities where their former skills could be expressed and displayed. In other words they are creating community friendly places for them.

In countries such as South Korea, citizens all are being made aware of the affliction.

In the homes they could be allowed to assist with simple chores. Games, that would not tax their brain could be played. Activities that involve their long term memory would give them a sense of belonging and usefulness.

The person with Dementia needs a good care giver. This, however, could be stressful for such persons so that a time of relaxation as well as support groups have also been recommended for them. Caregivers are very much needed and the love of which our Lord spoke, is what would help both the caregiver and the afflicted cope with this illness.

The conscientious, God-fearing person could be a tremendous help to this community. They could do so bearing in mind the scripture in Romans 15:1 that says, “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.” (NIV Bible.)

 Ms Velda Mings

Ms Velda Mings is a recent Graduate of Caribbean College of the Bible International (CCBI) with a Bachelor of Christian Counselling.




janice thomas

i love the clear and concise understanding of Dementia
Ruth Mings

This topic is one that should be read by most people. Very often the elderly are really ill-treated because their families do not understand this affliction from which the relative is suffering. I trust that people would take time off to be educated about this affliction now that it has been publicized in such a simple way. Very good Ms Velda.

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