Helping Your Senior Parent: Understanding Dementia
“I feel like my Dad isn’t my Dad anymore and I’m struggling to understand.”
Change is inevitable, and this is especially true when it comes to aging. If you’re caring for your senior Mom, Dad, or loved one, you may be starting to have concerns about health conditions commonly associated with aging. While diseases and disorders like dementia can affect any age group, there is an increased risk for seniors.
To help you stay informed about dementia, we’ve put together some important points and useful information in this blog post. If you’re looking for further information, we recommend you check out the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer Society of Canada or talk to your healthcare professional.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is actually an umbrella term used to describe a wide variety of conditions that involve cognitive deterioration, such as memory loss, interference with thinking, mood and personality. This overall term includes symptoms that are caused by disorders that affect a person's brain. These cognitive issues can also impact personalities and relationships with family and friends.
Disorders that fall under the dementia umbrella are caused by abnormal changes in a person's brain. These changes can cause issues with cognitive abilities, such as memory and thinking skills, and are severe enough to interfere with someone’s daily life and ability to be independent.
Many people often assume that Alzheimer’s and Dementia are different diseases, but Alzheimer’s is actually one type of dementia under the dementia umbrella.
What are the Types of Dementia?
There are many different types of dementia, with Alzheimer's Disease being the most common cause of dementia. Some other types (causes) of dementias include:
- Huntington’s Disease
- Frontotemporal Dementia
- Lewy Body Dementia
- Vascular Dementia
- Parkinson’s Disease Dementia
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
- Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
- Mixed Dementia (when a person has more than one type of dementia)
- And more.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Dementia?
Symptoms of dementia can vary greatly from person to person, so if you’re concerned that your loved one is showing signs of dementia you should talk to a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
One of the most common and well-known symptoms of dementia is memory loss. Memory loss that is associated with dementia is usually severe enough to impact daily living and day-to-day activities.
According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, other symptoms and signs can include problems with language/speaking, impaired judgement, misplacing important items (like a wallet, house keys, etc.), problems with thinking/thinking clearly, and difficulty with performing daily/common tasks, and disorientation.
The Alzheimer's Society of Canada has many helpful articles on their website, including 10 warning signs of dementia.
How can Adaptive Clothing help those with Dementia?
As mentioned previously, dementias impact cognitive abilities and thinking skills. This means that dementia can cause a person to do things that they wouldn’t normally do, because they cannot necessarily control their thoughts and actions.
Those with dementia and/or Alzheimer’s will sometimes spontaneously undress themselves, which can be both unsafe and inappropriate. If your loved one has been known to do this or you’re concerned about this happening, dignity suits may be a helpful solution.
Dignity suits, which are also referred to as anti-strip suits, are a one-piece garment that are used to prevent inappropriate undressing. These jumpsuits are designed with snaps and zippers at the back neckline, out of reach from the person wearing it. Having the fasteners at the back makes it more difficult for the person wearing the suit to undress themselves without assistance.
Dignity suits are designed to look like regular clothing, so most people will be unaware that your loved one is wearing a suit like this. These anti-strip jumpsuits help to keep your loved one comfortable, safe and dignified.
- Amy C