Dementia is a difficult topic for most people to come to terms with at the beginning of the disease process. However, knowing the signs of dementia and providing effective therapies can slow the process and keep elderly loved ones active longer. There are over 400 types of dementia, and every single person touched by it has a different journey.
Some of the earliest signs of dementia are forgetfulness, wandering or irritability during sunrise or sunset. Science has also found a close link between dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Between 50% and 80% of those diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease are also diagnosed with dementia. Parkinson’s dementia usually presents itself as problem-solving difficulties, slowed task completion, frequent falls and difficulty with hand-eye coordination or walking.
A neurologist is capable of diagnosing both Parkinson’s and dementia and should be consulted as early in the process as possible. While there is no known cure for these cognitive impairments, there are therapies that show improvement in patients and can slow down the effects of the diseases.
According to Brenda Gearhart, director of health care at Hilltop Memory Care, “Most people with Parkinson’s-related dementia can benefit from a memory care setting because of the specialized care. These communities are able to successfully stimulate the mind, care for the body and help the resident maintain their dignity and daily activities for as long as possible.”
Memory care communities develop personalized plans for residents, keeping them active in a 100% secured community that keeps residents safe. “The more active we keep our residents, the longer their quality of life will be,” says Nick Jasmon, director of business development at American Healthcare Management Group. “The more we can activate their brain, the slower these diseases progress.”
Memory care communities oversee fluid and nutritional intake and provide adaptive devices to assist with eating and drinking as needed. Staff are qualified to assist with showering, dressing, grooming, walking and other daily activities. Residents at Hilltop Memory Care average 14 activities each day. “This keeps the resident feeling more in control of the disease instead of the disease controlling them,” says Gearhart. Another important aspect of memory care is ensuring that medications are taken safely — at the right time and in the correct doses.
While dementia can be a difficult disease to come to terms with, developments in diagnosis, therapies and memory care communities have made it possible to slow the effects of the disease, prolonging quality of life for residents. “Hilltop Memory Care treats the resident as a whole,” Gearhart says. “Treating the whole person can lead to a better, more fulfilled life — their best life.”