The population is aging and more and more older people are living with dementia. 50 million people worldwide are affected by this disease and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year. A growing number of people are offering support and treatment to a loved one who is suffering from dementia. More people are interacting with or meeting people who have the disorder and want to learn more about it. There is a lot of information in the press and online about dementia, so much that it can be overwhelming, so we’ve provided you with a basic overview of the disorder with 5 things you need to know.
1. Definition of Dementia
Dementia is a chronic and progressive disease that leads to deterioration in memory, thinking, behavior, and the ability to take part in daily activities. It is strongly associated with old age, and symptoms in the early stages often go undetected.
2. Difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Dementia is often used interchangeably with Alzheimer’s Disease, but they actually have different meanings. Dementia is an umbrella term, which describes a wide range of symptoms. Alzheimer’s disease is one type of dementia and the most well-known and common form.
3. Figures of Dementia
50 million people worldwide are affected by this disease and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year. 70 percent of persons with dementia live in the community, and family caregivers are largely responsible for helping them to remain at home.
4. Impacts of Dementia
People with dementia may gradually lose their ability to walk, stand, or get themselves up from a chair or bed. They are also most likely to fall.
They may be unable to carry out simple activities, or unable to concentrate for too long. Increasing difficulty in concentrating, planning, and organizing is evident. They have a limited understanding of time, increasingly disorientated, and have difficulty recognizing where they are.
People diagnosed with dementia are also likely to experience grief, loss, anger, shock, fear, and disbelief. They feel afraid about the future, scared about moments of confusion. It can also trigger depression and anxiety.
Social and Economic Impact
The total global societal cost of dementia was estimated to be US$ 818 billion, equivalent to 1.1% of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015. The total lifetime cost of care for someone with dementia is estimated to be $341,840, with the costs associated with family care to be 70% of lifetime dementia care costs.
Impact on Family and Careers
Dementia can also be overwhelming for the families of affected people and their caregivers. It can cause great stress to them due to physical, emotional, and financial pressures.
5. Safety Hazards of Dementia
Whether you’re concerned about safety yourself or have an older adult or person living with dementia in your life, it is important to know where you stand when it comes to safety. Start by assessing the hazards to find out where vulnerabilities lie.
A person with dementia may forget how to use household appliances or dress inappropriately for the weather.
They may be unable to understand a written warning or a verbal warning in later stages of the disease.
Sense of time and place
They may get lost on his or her own street and be unable to recognize or find familiar areas in the home.
They may become easily confused, anxious, suspicious, or fearful.
They may have trouble with balance and use a walker or wheelchair to get around.
A person may experience changes in vision, hearing, sensitivity to temperature, or depth perception.
As the disease progresses, the person’s abilities will change, thus causing alterations in the brain and body that may affect safety. But with some creativity and versatility, we can support these changes. Join thousands of people in showing your support for people living with dementia and their care partners. Together, we can create dementia-friendly home. Subscribe to us now!