If you have dementia, this means that you have problems remembering things, your family and friends often say that you repeat yourself and you may have difficulty remembering what you were doing or where you were going. Sometimes, when you are with other people, you have difficulty keeping up with what is being said and you don't really understand what they are talking about. You might need to undergo dementia investigation, and if you are ill, there is a lot of support available.
The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, which is when the nerve cells atrophy in one or more areas of the brain. Other common forms of dementia are vascular dementia and frontotemporal dementia. Vascular dementia is caused by disruption of the blood flow to the brain so that parts of the brain do not get enough nutrition and oxygen. Frontotemporal dementia involves atrophy of the nerve cells in the front part of the brain, the frontal lobe and anterior portion of the temporal lobe. As a result, the actions and thoughts that are controlled from there do not work as they did before.
What can daily life with dementia be like?
- You might often become confused and sometimes you might go out in the middle of the night.
- You might forget about activities, events and other important things.
- You might forget who is who in your family and feel ashamed because of this.
- You might not dare to go out because you're afraid of falling or not being able to find your way back home.
- You might have difficulty with steps, thresholds and other obstacles.
- Your hands might shake and you often make mistakes when operating remote controls and buttons.
Early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease are usually having problems with your memory and an altered sense of time. Other symptoms may include having difficulty speaking and feeling anxious, depressed and having no get-up-and-go. It is common to be aware of your own difficulties and so you withdraw into yourself and avoid contact with others. Other early symptoms are having difficulty following TV programmes or understanding contexts when reading newspapers. You may have difficulty being by yourself, even for fairly short periods. This may be due to an inability to assess how long someone close to you has been away. It is common for our memories to get worse as we get older, and it might be hard to tell whether you have just become forgetful or whether you have developed Alzheimer's disease. It is very rare for people under the age of 50 to get Alzheimer's disease.
If you suffer from dementia, you may often have difficulty performing practical tasks such as paying bills, planning your weekly food shopping, cooking or traveling by yourself. It might even be a challenge for you to find your way about. Night and day become confused, and you may have difficulty concentrating on one thing at a time. With time, you may have greater difficulty keeping clean, showering and washing. Sometimes, some people might even become aggressive and suspicious.
Most people with Alzheimer's disease can be cared for in their own home. There is no recovery from the disease, but there are drugs available that partly reduce the symptoms. Some people may be aware of definite improvements, for example in their ability to concentrate, in their memory or in their verbal capacity. These drugs can often help the various centers of the brain to work for longer than would be the case without treatment.
How can we help you?
We at Abilia can help you when you feel that you no longer have control over what is happening in your environment. We have a wide range of different aids in the area of cognition that can help you to cope better with your daily life. A calendar on your bedside table, for instance, can help you to remember what day it is and whether it is daytime or night-time. A digital wall calendar can help you to remember important activities and events, both big and small. This gives you a clear idea of what is happening that day and provides you with reminders of who is coming to visit, scheduled doctor's appointments, reminders to take your medicine etc. It will also make it easier for you to maintain contact with those close to you. The Handi activity calendar also allows you to take your calendar with you wherever you go.
Abilia can also offer you simple remote controls that can be adapted to suit your specific needs. All of our controls have large and clear buttons, which makes it easier for you to press the right button. On many of our controls, you can simply choose which pictures and symbols you want to have on the buttons, so that it will also be easier for you to remember what button goes with what.
We also have aids for improving your safety at home. For example, we have a timer for the stove for preventing fires, or different types of alarm that are activated if you decide to go outside for a walk in the middle of the night.