On International Day of Older Person, Dr Shabnam Mir, Consultant Physician and Head of Clinical Services, Antara Senior Care highlights that the nation is still not equipped enough to handle the specialised care needs of patients suffering from Dementia. It is essential caregivers are prepared and properly equipped to deal with dementia patients
Old age brings a plethora of health concerns with it. As the human body ages, it undergoes various changes, both physiological and psychological. Seniors experience shrinkage in volume in certain parts of the brain and affected mental function. Healthy neurons in the brain stop working and lose connections with other brain cells. While everyone loses some neurons with age, people with dementia experience a far greater loss.
Alzheimer’s is one of the most common types of Dementia characterised by progressive degeneration of neuro-cognitive abilities. According to WHO, around 55 million people in the world suffer from dementia, and over 60 per cent of them live in low and middle-income countries.
In fact, a report by Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI) states that the number of Indians with Alzheimer’s is projected to reach 7.6 million by 2030. However, the nation is still not equipped enough to handle the specialised care needs of patients suffering from Dementia. It is essential caregivers are prepared and properly equipped to deal with dementia patients.
The time when a patient gets formally diagnosed of Dementia is crucial. This is also the time the family needs added support, considering they assume the caregiver role and responsibilities. While assuming the role of caregiver, it is important to focus on the following:
Reliability: Ensure that the patient can rely on the caregiver for support. It is important for the caregiver to provide a consistent, secure environment and build trust with the patient.
Safety: Caregivers can ensure safety through constant monitoring of the patient’s neuro cognitive health parameters and provide continuous surveillance and emergency support.
Independence: Ensuring the patient has a sense of independence and is in control of some, if not all, aspects of his/her life. Motivate the patient to make small decisions like choosing clothes, activities, etc.
Living with dignity: Caregivers can ensure a life of dignity for the patients by providing access to community and companionship.
In case one is about to interact with a Dementia patient who’s not used to having you in their environment, caregivers may focus on the following:
- Avoid startling them: Smiling and approaching gently, from the front can be helpful.
- Avoid excessive stimuli: It helps to ensure there is no added background noise
- Use gestures and visual cues: Use items that can act as visual cues
- Avoid disrupting their environment: Ensure you don’t move the patient frequently from their place of comfort, and avoid any major change of routine
Recognising the growing need for dementia care in India, we launched our Memory Care Home in Gurgaon, which follows these pillars of care and wellness. The facility offers clinical and mental wellness, safe & secure environment, surveillance & emergency support, and community & companionship for seniors with dementia. The clinical and care processes have been finalised after rigorous consultation and reviews by an experienced advisory council comprising eminent neurologists, psychiatrists, and industry experts.