Dementia is physical, manifest as mental and it must be treated accordingly. An appointment with the appropriate medical professional is in order.
Friedman, “In part, this is the result of an outmoded view about the separation of mind and body. Dementia has physical roots with mental manifestations. Many advocates for better Alzheimer’s care and treatment focus on the physical roots and do not regard dementia as a mental health condition.
“People living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias often have mental health problems — especially depression and anxiety disorders — as well as dementia. Memories they have always relied on become hazy and uncertain. Knowledge and skills cultivated over a lifetime diminish. Relationships change or are lost. Ordinary activities at work, home or leisure become difficult. Eventually, other people may be needed to help manage finances, make plans, get back and forth from home, eat, stay clean or go to the bathroom. As these sources of identity, personal pride and satisfaction are lost, people with dementia can become deeply sad, fearful and/or angry. Sometimes their behavior becomes a challenge for people who care for them.” (Michael Friedman, L.M.S.W., Meet the Mental Health Needs of People With Dementia, Huffington Post. 2012)
“Not only is a diagnosis of dementia difficult for the person with the disease; it also poses significant challenges for those who take care of the patient. Family members or others caring for a person with dementia are often subject to extreme stress. They often feel isolated, alone, and left to their own devices, dealing with the “unknown” and seeing their beloved ones becoming more and more distant and estranged. They may develop feelings of anger, resentment, guilt, and hopelessness, in addition to the sorrow they feel for their loved one and for themselves. Depression is an extremely common consequence of being a full-time caregiver for a person with dementia. The most important thing to remember is that you cannot help someone else without helping yourself first.” (Coping with Dementia, Dementia.com)
A diagnosis of dementia does not mean that life is over. It means that there will be challenges ahead, and thinking about those challenges now will help prepare those close to you and benefit all of you in the long run.
We recognize how daunting coping can be. Personal support is available.
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