Seniors, Mental Health and Memory Disorders
Dementia disorders are the most common mental health problem amongst seniors. The following are some symptoms, Prevalence statistics, risk factors, treatment options and outcomes.
An attribute to this disease is memory loss and loss of basic cognitive abilities. There are many types of dementia disorders that affects an individuals behaviours and brain activity. Brain activity affects a person’s memory and their body functioning capacity.
Dementia disorders are the most common mental health problem amongst seniors, resulting in memory loss and loss of basic cognitive abilities.
There are many types of dementia disorders that affect an individual’s behaviour and brain activity.
Alzheimer disease, the most common disorder, affects over 6% of all Canadian seniors (Care Planning Partners).
Vascular dementia is caused by strokes, and affects 20% of people with dementia (Canadian Study of Health and Aging).
A similar numbers of seniors are affected by dementia caused by Lewy bodies, protein deposits in the brain’s nerve cells which cause impairment in their perception, thinking, and behaviour. They also experience visual hallucinations, Parkinson's-like symptoms, and fluctuating alertness .
Symptoms of Dementia
For a health practitioner to diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease requires evidence of memory loss as well as additional cognitive side effects, such as language difficulties, or a loss of words or inability to organize, follow through with activities in the correct order or unable to plan. Symptoms must be out of character for that person.
On average 6 to 7% of Canadians over the age of 65 are affected by this disorder. The risk increases with age to 17% of those over 75 and 35% of seniors who are 85 years and older meeting the diagnostic criteria for dementia (Care Planning Partners).
Approximately 50% of individuals with a family history of Alzheimer’s disease will develop the disorder in their late age (80-90). The aging process of the brain is a factor in the development of the disease. Some therapies that generally delay the development of the disease are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, formal education, and estrogen replacement therapy. The other dementias mentioned above are not generally genetically influenced.
There are many activities that can help before and after diagnosed with the Disease. Brain stimulation plays an important role in combatting this illness.
Positive reinforcement when a person with this disease completes a daily activity that they now struggle with getting dressed, housework, eating and the like
Group discussions with peers to recall events in a person’s life
Support, education, and other activities to increase brain activity
Medication can help control the disorder. For behavioural symptoms generally antipsychotic and antidepressants drugs are used.
Dementia diseases are progressive and treatments are to improve, slow down or stabilize the symptoms of dementia.
Caregivers can support the seniors with dementia for some time, but residential care is designed to minimize the disability and take of the stress associated with this disorder for the patient and the caregiver.