How Is Dementia Affecting The Mental Health Of Elderly People?

Did you know a recent study depicts that the population comprising people aged 60 or above will rise to 22% by the end of 2050? Experts suggest that taking care of one’s mental health is an important thing to do, especially after crossing your 50s. A lot of older adults across the world suffer from different kinds of mental illnesses that include severe cognitive impairment, mood disorders, depression, anxiety, and dementia. 

Out of all the mental disorders, we are going to discuss dementia and how it affects an older person. However, let’s start with understanding some basic information first. 

What Is Dementia? 

Dementia is a type of mental disorder that adversely affects an older adult’s ability to perform various tasks. It has a severe impact on a person’s memory as well as their capability to think rationally. People who have dementia often have trouble concentrating on the task at hand. Dementia also makes people vulnerable to making decisions that keep them from carrying out day to day tasks effectively. 

Art Therapy & Alzheimer's, Dementia | How it Helps

Dementia happens due to the reduction of brain cells. However, it can also occur if certain parts of your brain responsible for processing thoughts gets damaged. It makes people confuse and agitated at times. Those who have dementia often display repetitive behavior as well. 

What Causes Dementia? 

The causes of a mental disorder that makes people forget how to operate normally include; 

  • Excessive alcohol consumption for many years 
  • Deficiency of essential vitamins our brain needs to function in a desirable manner 
  • Head injuries due to falling from a height, exposing your skull to heavy impacts, being in a car accident, etc. 
  • Reduced supply of blood and oxygen to the concerned areas of your brain
  • A brain tumor or any other infection like AIDS

One of the most common kinds of dementia is known as Alzheimer’s disease, which occurs primarily due to ageing. Alzheimer’s disease is degenerative since it gets worse as time passes. The organs and body parts of the individuals suffering from it might stop functioning as they should over time. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Dementia? 

Learning about the signs of dementia allows a person to diagnose themselves and seek professional help before it’s too late. The signs of this mental illness are as follows; 

  • Loss of memory 
  • Facing difficulty in paying attention 
  • Hard to communicate like an average person 
  • Unable to solve easy problems 
  • Indulging in irrational reasoning and judgements 

Physicians suggest that an older adult who cannot complete an easy task on his/her own and often forgets about things might be suffering from dementia. For instance, they can forget a loved one’s name, home address, old events, etc. Such people can also have trouble speaking and holding a conversation as they end up saying unusual words or sentences. 

Factors That Put You At The Risk Of Getting Dementia

Here’s a list of factors along with a brief explanation for your knowledge; 

  • Family history, meaning if your elders have or had dementia, then you can also get it. 
  • Poor heart health, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure make you vulnerable to this mental illness. 
  • Traumatic brain injury due to an accident exposes you to the risk of getting dementia. 
  • Age happens to be a major reason behind someone getting dementia. 

Take a look at the points mentioned above, and determine if you are safe from experiencing such disorders or not. 

How Is Dementia Diagnosed? 

You are aware of the symptoms and various signs pointing toward the possibility of dementia. If you are doubtful, pay a visit to a healthcare professional who will make an accurate diagnosis by taking several steps. The physician performs multiple tests to figure out your mental capabilities. 

They will test your memory, ability to perform a task, solve problems, attention span, and more to determine if you have dementia or not. Doctors also perform CT or MRI scans along with blood tests to be sure. 

Let’s Talk About The Different Types Of Dementia 

Basics of Dementia: Types, Signs & Symptoms

Some of the most common sorts of dementia are as follows; 

  • Vascular DementiaThis can happen due to an issue with the flow of blood to your brain, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. You can expect the symptoms of this type to worsen over time as they are influenced by the size of your brain that is affected. 
  • Lewy Body Dementia: The signs of this one includes daytime sleepiness, hallucinations, memory loss, and unable to move correctly. 
  • Mixed Dementia: This is when a person has more than one type of dementia. An individual can have both Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia at the same time. 
  • Frontotemporal DementiaThis affects a person’s behavior and personality to a great extent. People suffering from it can pass offensive comments, ignore responsibilities, have difficulty speaking, etc.

The Bottom Line 

Do you understand how dementia can have a massive impact on a person’s life? Unfortunately, this illness is not curable, but you can make certain changes to your lifestyle to reduce the effects. Maintaining a healthy diet and playing mind games, among other activities, prove helpful to a great extent.