Dementia is a term that is often used to describe elderly people, but it is more than just regular aging. It is a term used to describe a variety of brain disorders, including but not limited to Alzheimer’s disease. The effects of dementia run much deeper than just for the person who is diagnosed. Families and friends are impacted, as well as neighbours, health care professionals and the entire community.
I watched my Nana live with dementia while I was in my late teens. Her demeanor changed and her memory lapsed. In some ways this was a good thing, like when she forgot that she was a smoker, but most of the time it was sad, particularly when she couldn’t remember her family members.
I recall being at a birthday party with the entire family. Nana was sitting next to my grandfather, who happened to be her third husband (she was widowed twice). She looked him over from head to toe and proceeded to wonder aloud if her husband would mind if she made an advance on him. He was quick to tell her that he was her husband! It was a funny moment, but it was also very out of character for her. She was a poised southern woman who would have never spoken that way before her diagnosis.
This type of change in behavior can be a sign of dementia. Here are some other signs to take note of:
- Losing things
- Getting lost
- Forgetting how to perform routine tasks
- Memory impairments
- Difficulty with speech
There are other signs to watch for as well. Dementia Friends Canada is a national campaign that’s helping Canadians learn a little more about dementia and turns understanding into simple actions that can improve the lives of people with this condition. When you become a Dementia Friend, you’ll learn about the signs and the simple things you can do to help. Knowing what to watch for can mean getting a diagnosis earlier, making any transitions a little smoother.
You can learn more about Dementia Friends Canada on Twitter, Facebook and on their website: www.dementiafriends.ca . But most importantly, become a Dementia Friend on the Dementia Friends Wall!
This post has been generously sponsored by Dementia Friends Canada, the opinions and language are my own.