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Understanding Dementia

There are three stages for dementia:

Early stage - memory loss with decreased ability to think

Intermediate stage - easily get lost, mood changes and behavioral problems, need assistance with daily activities

Late stage - language impairment, cannot recognize relatives, may become incontinent and totally dependent

Credits to Hong Kong Police Force for shooting

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Dementia: Wandering

Wandering is a common problem for elderly people with dementia. Owing to the deterioration in short term memory and judgment, elders with dementia may easily get lost.
The following are some strategies to tackle the problem:
1. Avoid arguing with the elderly with dementia
2. Prevent the elder from leaving home alone
3. Set up a feedback device at the door
4. Ensure that the elder carries some important contact information on them, e.g. a bracelet that is engraved with the elder’s name and phone number of his close contact
5. Seek support from neighbours

Dementia: Environmental modification

Besides affecting one’s memory , dementia also affects one’s awareness of the environment. Modification of the environment can make life easier for the elder and help them maintain their self-care ability, and also reduce behavioural problems. Common ways to enhance the environment include:
1. Ensuring adequate ventilation
2. Improving lighting
3. Posting up signages for rooms
4. Posting cues for personal hygiene
5. Repeating instruction

Dementia: Communication skills

Elders with dementia often have difficulties in comprehension. This video introduces the proper skills to communicate with those suffering from dementia :
1. Avoid arguing with the elderly
2. Speak slowly
3. Maintain eye contact
4. Use simple words
5. Pay attention to facial expressions and emotions

Assistive device for medication

With poor memory, elderly with dementia often have difficulties in taking medication. Assistive devices, such as a calendar or medication box with labels may serve as useful reminders.