Dementia is the degree to which cognitive function of the brain (thinking, memory, reasoning) is declined/ lost and interferes with a person's daily life and activities. It is caused by neurodegenerative and vascular disease or injury. There can be changes in mood and behavior. It is a progressive condition that, with the passage of time, can reduce the ability to independently maintain activities of daily life. There are more than 419,000 Canadians aged 65 and older diagnosed with dementia.
Early Symptoms of dementia
There are many people under the age of 65 with a diagnosis of dementia and those who fail to recognize these symptoms indicate something is wrong, possibly due to stigma, mistakenly assuming that such behavior is a normal part of the aging process or other barriers remain undiagnosed. Also, some people may refuse to act, even when they know something is wrong. Although the early signs vary, common early symptoms of dementia may include:
Memory problems, particularly remembering recent events.
Reduced concentration. Easily getting distracting.
Personality or behavior changes.
Apathy and withdrawal or depression.
Loss of ability to do everyday tasks.
It is to be noted that there are some risk factors that cannot be controlled like aging and genetics but risk factors that lead to dementia can be reduced. Some of the factors that can reduce the chances of dementia are:
1. Being physically active: It has been seen that people who exercise on daily basis are less likely to develop heart disease, stroke, depression, high blood pressure, and diabetes-all risks associated with dementia.
2. Be socially active: Staying connected socially helps to stay connected mentally. So it is best to volunteer, maintain old friendships and make a new ones.
3. Give a challenge to the brain: This can be done by bringing slight alterations to the daily routine. Like, taking a different route to work. Trying a new way of cooking. Brain-challenging games can include chess, tabletop games, video games, word and number puzzles, jigsaws, crosswords, sudoku, and memory games. This will challenge their mind.
4. A healthy diet is a must Healthy eating can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Healthy food reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It’s better to try out the Mediterranean and MIND diets. Add color to the food and flavors, plan meals in advance and it’s very important to be mindful of what is being eaten. Choose appropriate portion sizes, eat healthy snacks and keep hydrated.
A positive mindset and some changes in lifestyle can lead to a beautiful and healthy life.