Contrary to popular belief, not all seniors eventually develop dementia. While most seniors will have some memory loss, you should understand the difference between normal cognitive changes and dementia as well as how this myth is harmful to older adults.
Reasons behind the Myth
There are several reasons a person may believe everyone eventually ends up with dementia. For instance, older adults are often portrayed in the media as characters with dementia to add a touch of comedy, even though there’s nothing funny about this condition. There’s also a little truth to the myth, since the risk of developing dementia does go up as a person ages. However, this doesn’t mean seniors must accept dementia as their fate.
Differences between Dementia & Age-Related Memory Loss
People also tend to view any type of memory loss as being linked to dementia. Most older adults will have normal memory lapses on occasion, just like younger people do. However, dementia causes more than just memory loss to occur. For instance, seniors with dementia may exhibit personality changes, confusion, and even anger without a rational cause. Certain types of dementia also generate changes in the brain that don’t occur with normal age-related memory loss. For this reason, it’s important to avoid jumping to conclusions if your loved one suddenly forgets names or misses an appointment. Instead, watch for other signs of dementia so you can have your loved one professionally assessed for the condition.
If your loved one is diagnosed with dementia, you may feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of being his or her primary caregiver. Caring for senior loved ones can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
Why the Myth Is Harmful
The myth that all older adults get dementia harms seniors by making it seem as though they have no control over their futures, which leads to feelings of helplessness and depression and sometimes causes seniors to overlook essential ways they can lower their risk of the condition. As a general rule, healthy older adults are less likely to have dementia-related symptoms. Reminding your loved one that doing things such as playing a game or taking a walk reduces the risk of dementia may provide motivation to continue to work on preserving his or her cognitive abilities.
Eating healthy foods, exercising, and getting cognitive stimulation are important factors in staving off dementia, and some seniors may need a bit of assistance when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of elderly home care. Denver families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet their elderly loved ones’ unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
Ways to Lower Dementia Risk in Older Adults
Your loved one can lower his or her dementia risk by adopting healthy lifestyle habits that do things such as increase blood flow to the brain. Making simple changes now can also help your loved one slow the progression of dementia if he or she already has the condition. Encourage your loved one to exercise every day and eat healthy meals that keep the brain healthy. For instance, avocados, nuts, and lean fish have omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial for brain health. Help your loved one stay engaged mentally with regular social engagements.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, help is just a phone call away. Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Denver seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance. For more information about our flexible, customizable home care plans, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (720) 443-3371.