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Dementia – How to recognize the first symptoms?

Dementia represents the loss of mental abilities in at least two areas, such as the ability to remember, speak, perceive, orient in space, logical reasoning.

Almost 5% of the world’s population faces it. Unfortunately, that number is growing from year to year, and it is estimated that by 2050 the number of patients will exceed 130 million. The situation in our country is no better. It is registered with 8% of the population of Serbia over the age of 65.

Although dementia is on the rise, the disease is not recent. It was written about by the ancient Greeks as normal during aging, while the Roman statesman Cicero believed that it only affects mentally weak people. Which means it can be avoided by people who are intellectually active in old age.

Throughout history, dementia has been linked to other diseases. Thus, in the 19th century, it was interpreted as a consequence of cerebral atherosclerosis, and at the beginning of the 20th century, schizophrenia. It was not until the 1960s that the link between neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive impairment due to aging was discovered, which served to diagnose senility, as it is also called.

What are the causes of dementia?

According to the type of cause, dementia is divided into two groups.

It is primarily caused by degenerative changes in nerve cells in the brain due to certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s. The most severe form is Alzheimer’s disease, which is also the most widespread. It accounts for about 50 percent of all dementias.

Secondary is caused by other health problems that affect psychomotor retardation. Depression, hormonal imbalance, stroke, pneumonia, certain infections, AIDS are just some of the risk factors. Also, bad lifestyles are classified as challengers. Namely, a diet based on foods poor in vitamins and excessive consumption of alcohol and psychoactive substances leads to the deterioration of brain tissue, which creates favorable conditions for the development of dementia.

How is dementia recognized?

Dementia is often detected at a later stage, because forgetfulness is explained by aging, fatigue or stress.

The first sign of dementia is short-term memory problems. Usually it is forgetting the date, day of the week, name… Then it turns to forgetting to do everyday household activities, it is harder to find the right words. They are accompanied by a lack of concentration and focus, so it is not uncommon for a person to repeat sentences he has already uttered several times during a conversation.

Dementia is also characterized by mood swings – from apathy and depression, through distrust and suspicion, to irritability and aggression. In the later phase, there is disorientation in space, first in an unknown, and then in a familiar environment, including one’s own home. The last phase brings serious problems. Patients are bedridden, almost do not communicate and have no control over physiological actions.

The benefits of personal home non-dementia

Caring for the elderly with dementia is a real challenge for family members. Not only does it require good organization of the all-day routine, but also knowledge and experience that many do not have. Therefore, the best solution is home personal care for the elderly. It includes medical staff and caregivers who know how to react in every situation in order to avoid inconveniences.

The plan of activities depends on whether it is the care of a person with mild dementia, moderate or severe dementia. In this way, an individual approach is determined in order to maintain a certain level of independence for as long as possible.

Home care includes not only help with personal hygiene and meal preparation, but also activities that have a beneficial effect on slowing down the progression of the disease. These include memory board games that preserve mental health and cognitive functions, easy walks and, above all, socializing.


The MinutNurse Home health & care center for the elderly and sick has decades of experience in its work. Our caring team is characterized by patience

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