Raising awareness on Alzheimer's Day

Dr Sheeba Ninan

Representative Image | Photo: Getty Images

September marks World Alzheimer's month. During this month people around the world come together as organisations and communities to raise the awareness of Dementia.

‘Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer’s’ is the theme for this year's global campaign.

Dementia is an illness caused by damage to a person's brain. When the cells in the brain die they cannot grow again. Due to the damage there are changes in the brain making it hard to remember, think and do things. Older people over 65 years are more likely to get dementia.

Some of the warning signs of Dementia are memory loss, difficulty performing familiar tasks, problems with language, disorientation to time & place, poor or decreased judgement, problems keeping track of things, misplacing items, changes in mood and behaviour, challenges understanding visual and spatial information and isolation to name a few.

The person might feel lonely, angry or confused. They might act differently, repeat themselves, shout or walk around.

A person cannot prevent themselves from getting dementia. But there are certain things that people can do to delay the onset of Dementia like doing things they enjoy, exercise, not smoke, restrict alcohol, eat healthy, see family and friends and have regular physical health checks.

There are some suggestions to communicate with someone who has Dementia like getting their attention softly, make sure they understand our gestures and be patient. Speak slowly, calmly, try to make eye contact, include them in conversations. If the person with Dementia needs glasses or hearing aids remind them to use them so they can keep enjoying the things the like. Calendars and notes can help them to remember and find things.

Since COVID-19 pandemic there has been an impact and delay with diagnosis of Dementia. A timely diagnosis is the step to Dementia care. Taking prescribed medication and following medical advice also helps with maintaining health. Following diagnosis support for people living with dementia and their carers is important. This is to help them live and cope well with their family.

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