Dementia Action Week
Dementia Action Week (DAW), originally known as Dementia Awareness Week, is taking place from May 20th to the 26th. DAW announced that this years’ goal is to “encourage people to take action to improve the lives of those affected by dementia and create a dementia-friendly environment where those with dementia do not feel excluded.”
Each year the theme for DAW is Remember the Person. Being faced with a loved one diagnosed is hard as symptoms unravel, but remembering that the person is more than the dementia is crucial. It can be hard to visit someone that doesn’t remember your name. On the other hand, even at an advanced stage, dementia patients may be able to show you that they are aware of the people that are around them.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but at the core dementia is not a disease. Unlike other diagnosis, dementia is hard to accept as each case develops at a different rate, and the symptoms aren’t always the same. Creating a safe environment and continuing to do regular activities is key for someone that has been diagnosed, as it reminds them to live in the present. As they progress, these are some of the symptoms of dementia that can develop:
- Memory Loss: One of the first signs is short term memory loss.
- Communication Problems: Similar to memory loss, patients will be unable to recall a word or a phrase within a conversation.
- Mood Swings: Ranging from sadness, anxiety or anger, patients lose the ability to control their emotions.
It can be exhausting to provide every-day care as a caregiver, especially because it’s easy to push your health and needs to the side to take care of someone else. Often times dementia patients are in denial about what is happening, they feel angry easily, emotionally sensitive and socially withdraw. As a caregiver, it’s important to seek help when you’re feeling overwhelmed. As mentioned in a previous post, taking care of your mental and physical health is an everyday task that needs to be prioritized.
By creating more awareness and taking action, the Alzheimer Society hopes that people are diagnosed earlier. An early diagnosis, would allow patients and their loved ones to be prepared for the upcoming symptoms and plan for the immediate future and the long term to best support your seniors’ needs.
The Alzheimer Society of Canada has announced new statistics regarding the number of Canadians with dementia.
- Over 500,000 Canadians live with dementia
- About 25,000 new cases diagnosed each year
- 56,000 dementia patients are cared for in a hospital