When you have a family member or close friend that receives a diagnosis of dementia, you may find yourself wondering about the causes of the disorder and what you can do to make life easier for your loved one. Dementia is a complex condition that is actually a set of symptoms that affect cognitive abilities such as memory, language, object recognition and motor skills. The most common form of dementia includes Alzheimer's disease, a progressive neurological disorder.
If you have recently found out that someone close to you is suffering from dementia, here are some facts that may help you cope with the disease.
Dementia Cuts Across All Demographics
Some diseases impact certain segments of the population more than others such as diabetes, a condition that disproportionately affects African Americans.
Alzheimer's and dementia, cut across all demographics, including race and socioeconomic status. It does not matter if you have been in stellar health your entire life and live a comfortable existence or if you are dirt poor.
For example, even legendary basketball coach Pat Summitt, a millionaire who retired as one of the highest paid coaches in the sport, received a diagnosis of dementia before she turned 60, still in the prime of her career. The disease progressed rapidly even as Summitt had access to the best doctors in the country and enough wealth for her to live in an upscale retirement community.
Age and Genes Are the Primary Risk Factors
While lifestyle and environment can play a part in someone's likelihood to develop dementia, age and genes are the top risk factors. The majority of dementia patients develop the disease after the age of 60. When you turn 65, the risk doubles every five years according to the Centers for Disease Control.
While scientists have some clues to what can potentially slow the progression of the neurological disorder, they are still mystified as to the exact causes of the disease and why it appears that people with conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease are less likely to develop dementia.
Support Is Available in Many Forms
Because so many millions of seniors suffer from dementia, a wide range of support groups and other helpful resources are available for family members and friends of those affected by the condition.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by taking care of someone with dementia, reach out to a support group. The Alzheimer's Association provides an online database of support groups in the United States. You should also ask the healthcare facility that treats your loved one if they offer support groups for family members and friends.
You can also connect with others by participating in activities like walks, road races and sporting events that raise money for research into dementia diseases. There are also dementia care alternatives if you feel overwhelmed by the idea of caring for your loved one on your own.Share
29 June 2016
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