What is dementia?

Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning: thinking, remembering, reasoning, and behavioral changes.     These impairments interfere with a person’s daily life, his or her ability to function, and his or her ability to communicate.  

Caring for a person with dementia at home, or in a facility, can be a difficult task that presents many challenges.

General Principles to Remember:

  * One of the greatest human needs is to be understood

  * People with dementia retain the capacity to feel emotion

  * Communication skills deteriorate progressively in dementing illness

  * When a person no longer has the ability to function “rationally”, they may no longer be able to change his or her behavior

  * Family, friends, and other caregivers must adapt their behaviors, and the environment, to meet the needs of the person with dementia

Challenges in Caring For Individual With Dementia

      * Changes in communication

        * Expression:

            * Trouble finding the right word when speaking

            * Problems understanding what words mean

            * Loss of train-of-thought when talking

            * Using familiar words repeatedly

            * Inventing new words

            * Difficulty organizing words

            * Using curse words

            * Speaking less often

            * Relying on nonverbal gestures more

            * Frustration if communication isn’t working

            * Being very sensitive to touch and to the tone and loudness of voices

        * Understanding:

            * Difficulty comprehending instructions

            * Following multi-step instructions

            * Remembering instructions/conversations

            * May be able to read words but not make sense of them

            * Trouble remembering the steps in common activities, such as cooking a meal,
            * paying bills, getting dressed, or doing laundry...