Questions about Dementia

Published: 22/05/2019

We have put together a few of the most common questions we are asked regarding Dementia.

We have put together a few of the most common questions we are asked regarding Dementia.

I am worried that my father who has dementia experiences long spells of boredom. Are there any activities or ways in which I can occupy or engage him?

Certainly some people with Dementia can feel lonely and isolated and as a result become bored. I would encourage you and other relatives to make a memory book for your father. A reminiscence scrapbook, if you like, to include photographs, pictures, music or songs and any other bits of memorabilia that your father can look back on and enjoy. Talk to your father and other people he knows about old times and what his interests and hobbies were, what jobs he used to do and who he used to know. The more you can find out about his younger days the more likely you are to find something he can remember and talk about. Have you ever heard someone say “We‘ve heard more about Jack at his funeral than in the years we cared for him.” Remember, there is more to the person than the Dementia.

I think my friend is showing symptoms of dementia, but I’m concerned about how to broach the subject. What is the best way to speak to her about it?

Your friend may be aware of the signs and may fear that they have dementia, particularly if they think that their memory is getting worse or if they have known someone who has had the illness. However, becoming forgetful does not necessarily mean that you have dementia as it can be an effect of ageing, and it can also be a sign of stress, depression or even vitamin deficiencies or a brain tumour. It is very important to get a proper diagnosis so speak to your friend and tell him/her that you are concerned for them and offer to go to the doctor with them. A diagnosis will help the doctor rule out any illnesses that might have similar symptoms to dementia, including depression. The doctor may also be able to prescribe drugs. Encourage your friend as a diagnosis can help with preparing and planning for the future. It is important to remember that, given support and understanding, one can still live well with dementia.

You can also contact the National Dementia Helpline for information, support and guidance, on 0300 222 1122

Other than memory loss, what other warning signs of dementia can I look out for?

Short term memory loss is the most commonly thought of symptom of dementia but it is not the only sign. However, the important thing to remember is that there are over 100 different types of Dementia and it affects different people in different ways. The most common type of Dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease accounting for about 60% of all cases. Other symptoms of dementia will include mood changes, - people may be withdrawn, sad, frightened or angry about what is happening to them.  People might have problems with communication and reasoning, show signs of anxiety and confusion and may have difficulty with words for things, for example describing how something works instead of naming it. As the dementia progresses the person affected may have problems with perception so, for example, a black floor mat may be perceived as a hole.

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