Dementia Misconceptions and Myths
Author: Nicholas Sutedja Date Posted:13 August 2019
In Australia an estimated 1.5 million people are involved in the care of someone living with dementia while an estimated 447,115 Australians are currently living with dementia with that number expected to increase to 589,807 by 2028 if there are no medical breakthroughs. Despite these statistics there are still many misconceptions about what dementia is, what it does to people and how to properly care for them.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is the same thing
They’re not. Dementia is a term used for symptoms such as confusion, memory loss, mood changes and personality changes. There are a range of conditions that can cause dementia, not just Alzheimer’s with other conditions such as dementia with Lew bodies, vascular dementia and Frontotemporal dementia.
People with dementia don’t understand what’s happening around them
Another myth of dementia. Many people believe that those suffering from dementia are unaware of what’s happening around them and struggles to communicate effectively. However the part around the brain that deals with communication is different from the area that deals with awareness; unfortunately while they can communicate it is sometimes difficult for people with dementia to relay these.
You should correct someone living with dementia when they make a verbal mistake
Those that live with dementia will often make mistakes. Caring for them takes a lot of patience, but it’s recommended that you don’t correct their mistakes as it causes confusion and feelings of depression. Instead be encouraging and support their socialising skills by asking engaging questions.
Only the elderly can get dementia
There is a misconception that dementia only affects older Australians. That’s not the case, although much less common, with an estimated 27,247 people living with younger onset dementia with numbers expecting to rise to 29,353 by 2028.
Once diagnosed, there’s nothing you can do to help yourself
Although there is no cure for most forms of dementia there are some that are treatable. For example vitamin deficiencies can cause dementia and once addressed is often reversible. However for the most part dementia is progressive in nature and gets worse as time passes. But there are treatment plans that help target symptoms while following a balanced lifestyle can improve their quality of life.
Dementia is not preventable
Research has suggested that there are a wide variety of things that can be done to reduce the risk of dementia. Start with an active and healthy lifestyle such as eating a balanced diet that’s full of nutrient-rich foods, regular exercise, reading, managing your stress, not smoking and maintaining social interactions.
Hopefully by debunking some of these myths and misconceptions about what dementia is and how it affects people you have a better understanding of it. It’s best to see a doctor if you believe your loved one is suffering from dementia. Active Mobility stocks a wide range of aged care items such as falls management products, hygiene and daily living equipment so give us a call to see how we can help you.