Dementia is a global concern, not only because it affects millions of people but also because it is something you wouldn’t wish your worst enemy to have.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 2015 statistics, dementia affects a staggering population of 47.47 million people worldwide. Although some might be able to cope well, others might have to deal with a chronic disability. Regardless, dementia negatively impacts the quality of life of the individuals who are affected.
You’ve probably been hearing about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but do you know the difference between the two? Or is there any difference at all?
Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s Disease
You might interchange the two for they present almost the same signs and symptoms. Both of them affect your memory, thought processes, and cognitive ability, and both could make your life harder than it already is. So what’s the difference?
- Dementia is a general term that describes the signs and symptoms of conditions that negatively affect your memory, communication, and daily activities. Remember that dementia is not a disease. It is a syndrome or a group of symptoms, so it is not a specific diagnosis. Here are the warning signs of dementia that you should take note of.
- Alzheimer’s disease, on the other hand, falls under the category of dementia. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. The risk of having Alzheimer’s disease increases as you age. With our present technology, the disease still has no known cause and no known cure.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Safety Needs
Why do people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease need to follow certain safety precautions? To understand why let’s take a look at the inside of the brain of a person with Alzheimer’s disease.
Memory and thought processes are transmitted through nerve impulses that travel from neuron to neuron in your brain. If you have Alzheimer’s disease, some of your neurons might stop working. The connection with other neurons might be lost, impairing the thought process. Others might even die. When this happens, you might suffer from memory loss, incapacity to make decisions, changes in personality and behavior, and even the inability to carry out the things that you normally did before the disease got the better of you.
People with Alzheimer’s are a danger unto themselves, and it gets worse the longer they live with the disease. These are the reasons why certain measures must be observed to ensure their safety.
Safety is one of the greatest concerns for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Here are some safety measures you need to follow:
Safety at home
- Make sure that chemicals, tools, knives, guns, electronics, and other things that require supervision are carefully secured. People with Alzheimer’s often forget how to operate these types of equipment, and might injure themselves.
- Check the temperature of the food before giving it to them. Do not serve foods and drinks that are too hot because they might forget to check the temperature before eating or drinking them.
- Lock away medications and vitamins at all times. This is to avoid taking multiple drugs at once and prevent drug overdose.
- Remove plants and fruit displays inside the house. They might mistake them for real food.
- Install sufficient lighting, especially in the hallway, stairs, bathroom, and bedroom. Inadequate lighting might confuse them. Besides, they are elderly and are more prone to slipping and fractures
- Install grab bars in the bathroom for support. You could also use shower chairs to ensure safety and convenience.
- Check that the slippers and rugs are not slippery. Apply adhesives if necessary. This is to prevent slipping accidents.
- Make sure that they are properly dressed depending on the weather.
- Never leave a person with Alzheimer’s disease on his or her own, most especially when in an unfamiliar place. They might get disoriented and wander off.
- Do not bring them to busy and crowded places. They might get confused and get lost.
- Provide opportunities for exercise and simple daily activities to reduce restlessness and agitation.
- Install locks and safety bolts on your doors to make sure that they don’t wander unsupervised at night.
- Attend to their personal needs such as food and toilet.
- Always keep a list of emergency hotlines ready just in case you need them.
- Bring emergency medicines with you whenever you accompany someone with Alzheimer’s disease.
Although persons with Alzheimer’s need considerable care and great attention, try to treat them fairly. Encourage social interaction and engage them in daily activities so that they could still feel a semblance of normalcy and independence in their life. Support them in their struggle and let them feel your genuine concern.
Do you know someone with Alzheimer’s disease? How did you help make their life better and meaningful? Share your experience below.