Dementia: The BIG Umbrella
It is all too common for me to hear “What is Dementia?” or “Alzheimers, I’ve never heard of that.”. In a world where information is just at our finger tips, there are many who still seem to lack knowledge about this disease. Now, I am not an expert by any means, but I work every day with adults who are affected by some form of Dementia and it is kept quiet about. It almost seems “taboo” when a family member or friend is affected by this, to even discuss it. Opening up and gaining a better understand of this disease is key to helping those with it and those affected by it.
Life with Dementia can be scary, involves changes in all seven dimensions of wellness, but it can also mean finding a new take on life. If you are part of a community that takes care of adults who have some form of Dementia, I highly recommend getting certified in the Best Friends Approach by Virgina Bell and David Troxel. A wonderful approach that teaches you how to better aide in taking care of those with Dementia. Here is the website for more information: http://bestfriendsapproach.com
Dementia is the umbrella term that covers all of the different types and forms of what is described as memory loss or loss of mental capabilities (short and easy explaination). Think of it like the term “cancer”. When we hear cancer we know that there are many types of cancer out there: lung, skin, breast, throat, etc. This is how the term dementia works. It is often confused with Alzheimers, which is a disease under Dementia. Just because an individual has dementia does not mean they have Alzheimers. Hope this makes sense, this far. Alzheimers.org is a great resource and pletheura of information. There are several forms of dementia and I will list a few of them off: Alzheimers (most common), Huntingtons Disease, Vascular Dementia, Anesthetic Induced Dementia, Parkinsons Diseases, Frontal Lobe Dementia, and Mixed Dementia. Each one has there own characteristics, symptoms and definition. Being aware of what the disease is and understanding that dementia comes in many forms can better help you understand those with it.
Dementia is not a disease to be quiet about. The world should not shy away from speaking out and supporting those who have been and are affected by it. Finding others who have been through this and how they coped or things they tried are important to gaining a more inter-personal insight. Raising awareness and funds to help researchers further key findings and even “cures” is critical to helping those affected. Tell your story, your fears, and the reality of the disease. The more we discuss in-depth, even when it is painful emotionally to remember, the less taboo this becomes.