Dementia is an overwhelming disease. Learning how to deal with dementia in the early stages can be scary for a person recently diagnosed with it. Dementia can cause memory loss and problems such as confusion and mood swings.
How is Dementia diagnosed?
The first step is catching on to the early stages of dementia’s symptoms, which include:
- Repeating questions
- Experiencing memory loss
- Poor judgment
- Difficulty in comprehension, speaking and understanding thoughts, reading, and writing
- Taking longer than usual to complete daily tasks
- Difficulty performing routine tasks
- Acting impulsive
- Losing balance and having problems with movement and coordination
- Using unusual words to describe familiar objects
- Experiencing delusion and paranoia
Diagnosing dementia is not a straightforward task. There is no single set test that determines if someone has dementia. The diagnosis of dementia is based on a carefully documented medical history, laboratory tests, assessing the characteristic changes in thinking, day-to-day functioning, and the behavioral criterion of each type of dementia.
The various procedures used in diagnosing dementia include:
- Cognitive and neurological tests are used to analyze thinking and physical functioning
- Brain scans are used to identify strokes, tumors, and other issues which can lead to dementia. The scans also provide visuals of changes in the brain’s structure and function.
- Physiatric evaluation to assess the mental health conditions of the patient.
- Genetic tests are also done as dementia can be caused by genes. Genetic tests can help patients find out if they are at risk for dementia.
- Blood tests which measure levels of beta-amyloid, a protein that is saturated in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Catching the disease in the early stages of dementia is extremely important, as some causes of the disease can be treated and managed. However, identifying the cause of dementia is usually not possible. Early dementia therapy is very important to manage the disease well and plan treatment.
After the Diagnosis
Dealing with the early stages of dementia after the diagnosis can be difficult if you do not know where to start.
You can start with some practical steps:
- Ask your doctor about the plan of action for dementia therapy. Inquire about drugs, medication, and other types of interventions that can be used to manage and control dementia, and improve the quality of your life post-diagnosis. You should do everything you can to make getting through the day easier for you. Telehealth platforms like NeuroX provide you with a direct channel of communication with your doctors. An excellent team of doctors can address any questions you have about the disease and your treatment plan.
- Organize your financial affairs for payments, so that you do not have to worry about that later on, when and if the condition worsens. It is advised to set up a direct debit account which makes paying your bills more efficient and seamless.
- Talk to a lawyer, and find details on the enduring power of attorney. You should nominate someone to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf if your condition becomes much more serious. This way you can avoid serious difficulties in the later stages of the disease.
- An excellent way to get dementia help is to find out which community services have been set up in your locality or your city. Finding a community can make managing the disease easier.
- Look up assistive technologies for people with dementia. This can make daily living easier for people with dementia.
- Talk to healthcare service professionals like social workers or nurses, or even your doctors at NeuroX about where you can get access assistance like help at home and meal delivery.
Some Practical Advice for Maintaining Independence In Early Stages of Dementia
You can take additional measures to ensure that you remain independent:
- Make space for a pen and calendar with large writing spaces near your phone
- Make a habit of keeping a log of all your important events like appointments, social activities, the days when bills are due, medical visits in a notebook or on the aforementioned calendar
- Make a daily to-do list and keep in a spot where you can see and access it at all times
- If you are on medication, it is important to keep it organized so that you can remember which one you are supposed to take and when. To do this you can purchase a medical dispenser or a dosette box. You can also ask the pharmacist you purchase your medicine from to blister pack the medicines to ensure you take the correct amount.
- You should purchase a large clock and place it in a noticeable place in your room or whichever space you frequent the most. It will be useful to get one that also displays the date.
- Arrange the widgets on your phone so that they prominently show the date and day.
- Keep bills visible so that they get paid.