Dementia is a chronic mental disorder that leads to the damage of brain functions leading to a reduced recall ability, reasoning, decision making and conduct. The damage results to the incapability of the individual to carry the day to day activities for example: personal care, household errands and even driving. Dementia mostly occurs with other diseases (SIGN, 2006). Dementia is a common ailment among the old people as they age and it is as a result of a number of underlying medical conditions thus even young people can be diagnosed with dementia however with proper medical treatment dementia can be reversed though in some cases it is permanent and may even get worse (SIGN, 2006). According to statistics from a research done in the United States, dementia affects four to five million people in the US. The statics proved the fact that dementia becomes most common as one grows old. For example: 30-50% of people older than 85 years are likely to be affected with dementia. Similarly people in the age group between 60-64% will have at least 1% affected (Brewer, 2007). The age group most affected with dementia is the elderly this gives the reason why they are placed in nursing homes as they can hardly take care of themselves.
Dementia does not only affect the human normal brain function but it also results to great financial cost to the individuals involved.
This is because individuals who become affected become totally dependent on others in all areas (Brewer, 2007). The cost of dementia is mostly felt by the relatives and close friends of the affected as they have to help the affected individual in their day to day activities and also support their medical costs. The affected individuals mostly live a poor quality life as their judgment is impaired, reasoning and the formation and maintenance of relationships. Due to the effects of dementia the affected cannot interact well with others and normally a sense of being left out may develop. Not all old people develop dementia though most of them fear that they are developing it. Forgetfulness is commonin most old people though it is not dementia. With forgetfulness the old can still carry out their day to day activities and learn new things contrary to dementia.
Lewy disease in old people is the most common cause of dementia where people have abnormal protein structures in some specific areas of the brain (Brewer, 2007). However other diseases can lead to dementia and their effects are almost irreversible, for example: small strokes leading to vascular dementia other conditions that can cause dementia include the following, multiple sclerosis where the body tissue hardens as a result of undesirable growth, degeneration of nerve fibers or deposition of minerals especially calcium.
Other causes include infections affecting the brain such as HIV/AIDS, Lyme disease, picks disease, Huntington's disease and Parkinson's disease (Brewer, 2007).
Although the fear behind dementia is that it is sometimes irreversible, some other causes are reversible if detected and treated early. For example: brain growths, changes in blood sugar that lead changes in metabolism, low levels of vitamin B12, use of some cholesterol lowering drugs and alcohol abuse. Some of the causes of dementia especially to people below the age of 60 can be avoided for example: control alcohol intake, exercise regularly, quit smoking and avoid intake of high cholesterol foods (Brewer, 2007).
Dementia in both old and young people can be recognized easily in the affected individual. Memory cape ability of the affected persons goes down and mostly they perceive things differently and poorly compared to a normal human being, the language use and mastery is poor, emotions may be used unnecessarily and cognitive skills such as judgment and thinking are impaired(Brewer, 2007). Although some symptoms are described as to be possible signs of dementia, others may not necessarily mean so for example: mild cognitive impairment (MCI) which is a position between normal forgetfulness and dementia. People under this category have their cognitive abilities affected but this does not interfere with their day to day activities as they are aware of forgetfulness and not all of such cases lead to development of dementia (Brewer, 2007).
MCI can be differentiated from dementia through the following symptoms: difficulty in multitasking, forgetting current actions especially talks, problem solving strain and poor performance in mental activities (SIGN, 2006). Dementia can be managed through a number of ways, behavior management is one of the ways, and it includes time-limited interferences which are normally carried out by staff at the nursing homes under the direction of an expert. Care givers can also intervene as a way of dementia management they can either reassure the individual affected or interact with the individual more closely (SIGN, 2006). Cognitive stimulation can also be used to manage dementia and may either occur informally through recreational activities or formally through a set of developed programs. Management of dementia can also be done through environmental design by creating an environment that aids orientation, multi-sensory stimulation where combined therapies can also be used. The approach uses a variety of equipment such as lights effects, soothing music, recorded sounds, message, and tactical fragrances to create a multisensory environment (SIGN, 2006).
Dementia affects both the old and the young though it is common in old people a number of causes can lead to it affecting the young people. Once the symptoms of dementia have been recognized immediate medical attention should be considered as a way for diagnosis and a possible way of reversing the condition. Although most people affected with dementia cannot tell their problem, help from close friends relatives and medical professionals is essential to the affected individual.