Dementia is a loss of mental skills that affects daily life. It is different from mild memory loss that occurs with aging. Dementia can cause problems with memory, thinking clearly, and planning. It is different for everyone. But it usually gets worse slowly. Some people who have dementia can function well for a long time. But at some point it may become hard for the person to care for himself or herself.
It can be upsetting to learn that a loved one has this condition. You may be afraid and worried about what will happen. You may wonder how you will care for the person. There is no cure for dementia. But medicine may be able to slow memory loss and improve thinking for a while. Other medicines may help with sleep, depression, and behaviour changes.
Dementia is different for everyone. In some cases, people can function well for a long time. You can help your loved one by making his or her home life easier and safer. You also need to take care of yourself. Caregiving can be stressful. But support is available to help you and give you a break when you need it.
Alzheimer Society of Canada offers good information and support. If you are caring for someone with dementia, you can help make life safer and more comfortable. You can also help your loved one make decisions about future care. You may also want to bring up legal and financial issues. These are hard but important conversations to have.
Follow-up care is a key part of your loved one's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your loved one is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your loved one's test results and keep a list of the medicines he or she takes.
Call 911 anytime you think the person may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in the person's health, and be sure to contact the doctor if:
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & A. Evan Eyler, MD, MPH - Family Medicine, Psychiatry
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