Dementia is a set of symptoms and is characterized by decrease in mental abilities like memory loss and decrease in the speed of processing information. It is caused by brain damaging diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.
According to the University of Florida, below are some of the early manifestations of dementia.
- Changes in memory function: Short term memory is commonly affected in persons with dementia. The inability to remember any information acquired just after a few minutes ago is a good example.
- Difficulty in communication: Persons who suffer from dementia have problems in clearly explain their thoughts. They find trouble in choosing the appropriate words to explain their selves. They may also find difficulty in following any type of story or conversation.
- Problems in thinking skills: Individuals with dementia find trouble when numbers are on the equation. Also, they find difficulty in organizing and supervising people or activities.
- Changes in emotions and moods: Difficulty in expressing and understanding an emotion may be an early manifestation of a progressive dementia. Person suffering from dementia also becomes more sensitive so slight changes in their comfort zone may cause irritability, depression or sudden anger outburst.
- Poor decision-making skills: A reduction in the ability to choose from several possibilities is an early sign of dementia. Simple occurrences that usually don’t take much time in making choices like choosing what to eat in a restaurant or what to wear becomes a problem for a person with dementia.
- Changes in judgment: Persons with dementia usually are unable to differentiate good judgments from bad judgments; like acting aggressively and rashly without thinking of the possible consequences.
- Challenges in learned movements: Unable to remember simple actions like how to use an object is a sign of dementia. From the start, these may seem a form clumsiness but if it continues and becomes more frequent, schedule an appointment with the doctor.
When dementia has been diagnosed, medical intervention is needed. A promising non-pharmaceutical treatment for dementia is the SAIDO Learning method which was developed by the Kumon Institute of Education in Osaka Japan and Professor Ryuta Kawashima of Tohoku University. In Japan, it has more than 10 years of proven track record of successful intervention by improving symptoms of dementia. In the said country, 18000 patients with dementia are under this program in 1400 care homes. The method involves solving simple arithmetic, reading, and writing. Although these may seem nothing special, scientific evidence showed that by doing these activities on a daily basis stimulated the areas of the brain affected by dementia; thereby improving their cognitive abilities. In the United States, Eliza Jennings is the 1st aging service network to offer SAIDO Learning