8.5 C
New Zealand
Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The Only Sri Lankan Community Newspaper in New Zealand

Is DEMENTIA Normal? Is It FORGETFULNESS? | Oshala Fernando | Christchurch

Must read

ශ්‍රී LankaNZ is a free distributed Sri Lankan Community Newspaper that aims to reach a Sri Lankan population of over 18,000 all over New Zealand. The demand for entertainment in literacy media itself gave birth to ශ්‍රී LankaNZ

As we grow older, we do become more forgetful but this does not mean we have any sort of dementia. Some people will have more cognitive decline as they grow older or even some start showing at a younger age. Dementia – is loss of skills or a chronic disorder that affects memory, thinking, behavior, emotion and physical functioning.

Dementia is not a part of normal aging

There are many forms of dementia including –

  • Alzheimer’s disease -affected around 65-70% of people with dementia,
  • Vascular dementia   -affected around 15-20%of people with dementia, 
  • Lewy Body dementia -affected around 10%of people with dementia,
  • Fronto temporal dementia 
  • Alcohol- related dementias.

The harm caused by all dementia leads to the progressive loss of brain tissues and the symptoms will gradually get worse, in fact dementia cannot be cured.

Some people use techniques such as copying methods, medications, lifestyle changes to slow the progression although symptoms vary from person to person, mostly characterized by changes in personality and behaviuor.

In addition to memory loss symptoms of Alzheimer’s include, 

Difficulty in – problem solving, verbal communication,judgement, activities of daily living                       (eating,drinking,dressing,toileting etc.), to perform routine works etc.

Changes in –mood, personality, confusion about -places, family and friends etc.

There are usually three types of dementia,

1-Early/mild               2- Moderate                   3- Advanced/severe 

When communicating with a person with dementia avoid arguing, correcting them even if they are wrong or do not try to show any kind of impatience and do not try to ignore them. They often feel threatened when you ask specific questions that rely on their good memory as they don’t have it, furthermore always focus on their body language and expressions to understand them easily and watch carefully, being gentle and calm and keeping your sentences short and concise will help both parties to understand each other without any conflict.

Rather than treating them with medications, behaviour management is more important –

E.g.- Keep the same /consistent/familiar routine.

Dementia can be described as reversible or non-reversible. Reversible dementias include vitamin deficiencies, depression, medications or infections; the effects of these are short term and it is important to identify these conditions early and treat appropriately so it can be reversed.

The irreversible dementias are known as degenerative dementias. The most common form is Alzheimer’s disease. 

Reversible Dementia

Cause Symptoms
Vitamin deficiency Confusion, Change in mental state
Depression Low mood, Low energy
Medications Hallucinations, Confusion
Infections Confusion


Below are some causes of difficult behaviour,

  • Too noisy
  • Bossy tone
  • Pain
  • Tiredness
  • Illness
  • Hunger
  • Effects of medication
  • New people / Environment   etc.

Behavior Disorders of Dementia,

  • Anxiety or depression
  • Sundowning
  • Wondering/Restlessness/Rummaging in other people’s belongings
  • Agitation,shouting,swearing 
  • Prone to falls and delirium    etc.

A person living with dementia can have a significant impact on their life as they experience a wide range of emotions such as shock, disbelief, shame, fear, guilt, anger and sadness etc. They are often very concerned about their future as well as isolation and being cut off.

Stroke, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, obesity, Parkinson’s disease, osteoarthritis are some chronic medical conditions.

Support and Advocacy Services available for Family /Whanaù in New Zealand

  • Alzheimer’s New Zealand
  • Age Concern New Zealand                             
  • Health and Disability Commission

Lastly, enjoy the time with people who have dementia as they look the same as other people but don’t act like it, and remember they are not KIDS, they are adults. Treat them with respect and protect their dignity. Use humor as a way of getting to know them and make relationships with them. Be kind and tolerant and have more compassion.


Facebook Comments Box

ශ්‍රීLankaNZ සමාජ සත්කාරය අඛණ්ඩවම පාඨකයන් වෙත රැගෙන එන්නට ඔබගේ කාරුණික දායකත්වය අත්‍යාවශ්‍යමය. එය ස්වෙච්ඡා සේවක කණ්ඩායමට මෙන්ම පුවත්පතට ලිපි සපයන සම්පත් දායකයින්ට ද ඉමහත් ධෛර්යයක්වනු ඇත. ශ්‍රී ලන්කන්ස් පුවත්පතේ ඉදිරි ගමනට අත දෙන්න.

- Advertisement -spot_img

More articles

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest article

Consider a contribution…

ශ්‍රී LankaNZ(ශ්‍රී ලංකන්ස්) is a free distributed Sri Lankan Community Newspaper that aims to reach a Sri Lankan population all over New Zealand. If you would like to appreciate our commitment, please consider a contribution.