People suffering from brain disorders such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease, experience a variety of troubling symptoms. These include primarily memory loss as well as impaired thinking, decision-making, communication, and self-care. There is also a very likely incidence of stress, fear, and concern in patients.
The early stages of dementia are the most difficult to pick on. Therefore, it is not uncommon for families to struggle with recognizing the symptoms in someone close to them. There are an array of early presenting signs of Alzheimer’s disease such as mood changes, altered personality, behavioral changes, disturbed short term memory, and confusion. Memory loss and confusion are two symptoms that everyone experiences at one point or another. Owing to its immediate recovery and subsequent progression of normal behavioral patterns, disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can go unrecognized. By the time they are, it is already too late, and the condition is already in its later stages.
Variation in behavior makes it particularly hard for family and loved ones to reach a definitive diagnosis. Once a diagnosis has been deduced, it is easier for everyone to manage and cope with the everyday challenges associated with the condition.
Following is a list of 6 ways in which one can cope up with the challenges associated with the early signs of Alzheimer’s.
Engage in Activity
While it is the easier option to sulk about how you are feeling, it is much better to engross yourself in activities instead. These will help the patient stay focused and feel happier. Everyone has a favorite set of hobbies. Whether it is reading, writing, gardening, painting or golfing; patients are encouraged to participate and pursue their hobbies actively.
Since the coordination response and thinking are questionable in people experiencing early signs of dementia, it is best to avoid doing things that are risky to the patient’s health such as injuries or falls. Despite undergoing the difficult early symptoms of dementia, it is vital that we introduce the patient to new experiences and activities. These will ignite a will to learn and also help forge new connections in the brain between neurons.
Stay Physically Fit
Physical fitness is an integral part of life. For dementia patients, staying healthy and fit is almost necessary for multiple reasons. Exercise helps increase blood flow to the brain, reduce blood pressure and reduce weight. Additionally, exercise helps reduce stress and anxiety in patients. These two conditions as mentioned earlier are a fairly common finding in patients with dementia.
When a person exercises, their brains are being provided with more oxygen. Increased blood flow to the brain help induces neuronal growth. The patient is not expected to start a full scheduled workout routine after being diagnosed with dementia. Start with a simple brisk walk, doing household chores, running errands and much more. Over time, with exercise, you will experience a stamina boost and improved cognitive function.
Diet may be the most pressing concern when it comes to weight loss, but it is, in fact, critical for patients with dementia. People with dementia are advised to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, as well as proteins. A very commonly suggested diet for dementia patients to follow is a Mediterranean diet. This diet comprises mainly of fruits, vegetables, dairy, and fish. All of these foods come with their own distinct set of benefits.
How is a Mediterranean diet better than a regular diet? Packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients, vegetables and fruits are excellent. A potent source of all the constituents above, this diet can help improve the symptoms of dementia. A balanced diet coupled with exercise makes a huge difference in the overall presentation of symptoms.
Stress is not something that anyone can help you with. We are surrounded by a variety of triggers and issues that make it challenging for us to stay stress-free. It is perfectly understandable therefore it is advised that to channel whatever it is that one is feeling at a particular place. People with early signs of Alzheimer’s are urged to avoid stress-inducing situations actively. Failure to remember specific details might be the source of anger, frustration and a lot of unnecessary stress.
To avoid stress, patients must seek solace in doing what they love and reach out for a dementia test. If there is an activity or hobby that the affected person loves, give them something to work with. For starters, write down daily information and tasks in a memory aid journal. Mention names, numbers, addresses and everything that might seem like something they would forget on the top of their head.
Independence is not a problem for many. Depending on the severity of disease progression, we can determine whether the patient will be able to perform the assigned set of tasks with ease. People suffering from early-stage dementia are not subjected to these measures as their presenting symptoms are relatively mild. For them, reminders, hints, and memory aid journals will not be of much use.
For those who are experiencing severe symptoms, start by writing things down on a calendar. Note down all important events such as dates, appointments, meetings, etc. Take note of all the activities you did on a specific day. Make sure to note down medicine timings as well. Recording down the smallest of details helps you retrace your steps in case there is any mishap or incident.
Acknowledge and Move on
Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of dealing with early signs of dementia is to accept it. Denial stems from very deep-rooted concerns, so it is important to address them. Excuses will not change the reality of the situation, so come out of denial and allow yourself to process this condition. Find reassurance amongst friends and family. Adopt a positive outlook towards the condition. A positive attitude can help you survive the turmoil and drama. Surround yourself with those you love and care for and do things that make you happy. That is all there is to it.
For the patient to detect these early changes is unlikely because their minds are already in turmoil. They are not completely aware of what is going on so you cannot expect them to come forward and voice their concerns. If they do, do not merely shrug it off like it is nothing. Seek professional help for them.
Evie harrison is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs. Find her on Twitter:@iamevieharrison