Diagnosis of dementia: help is at handDementia is one of the greatest challenges facing our society. Every year, about 300 people fall ill.000 people a year suffer from some form of dementia – a diagnosis that frightens many and worries relatives. But there is help.
That's what it's all about:
What is dementia and what is known about the disease?
The term "dementia" covers more than 50 diseases. Including so-called Alzheimer's disease, which accounts for more than two-thirds of all cases and is thus the most common form of dementia.
Statistics show that currently about 300.000 people per year develop some form of dementia. The studies of the German Alzheimer Society e. V. Show that the numbers will continue to rise as long as there is no effective therapy to cure them. However, it is currently also apparent that the number of new cases is not increasing as rapidly as suspected in recent years. Research suggests that greater health awareness in the population has a beneficial effect on development.
The clinical picture of all forms of dementia is similar and different at the same time. There are also mixed forms, so that one cannot speak of "the dementia". The term dementia literally translated from Latin means "away from the mind" or "without mind". This already explains the essential characteristic of the diseases. Symptoms come on insidiously and show up with impaired memory, basic memory decline, and loss of judgment. Ultimately, those affected embark on a journey into a world of emotions all their own, to which we eventually no longer have access. The actual path of this journey couldn't be more different: It can happen quickly, but it can also happen in spurts over years. The courses are as different as those affected themselves – only the destination seems to be the same. With therapeutic methods. Medication can slow the progression of the disease. As long as no cure is possible, therapies are primarily concerned with ensuring and increasing the quality of life.
The disease is a highly emotional challenge for those affected and their relatives, because: What is really going on inside a person with dementia, sufferers can only tell us in the early stages. Later, relatives have to feel how the affected person is doing. Once dementia has set in, the focus should therefore always be on the person and not the illness.
Dementia can be caused by a number of different factors.
Can your risk of developing dementia be prevented?
The research answers "yes" to this question. Analysis of the statistics. The observations of research give hope. The following findings should encourage and motivate you: If you treat your body and mind well and, above all, take care of them, you are already actively reducing the risk of developing dementia. You will also increase their quality of life. Maintain your self-determination for a long time. These are good arguments. We explain how to stay mentally fit.
Stay mentally fit
Mobilize your creativity to stay fit in your mind for a long time. Hobbies are an ideal method and are also fun: painting, handicrafts, puzzles, handicrafts, singing, crossword puzzles, reading, board games or traveling – spend your free time with activities that challenge you mentally. Above all, stay in dialogue with those around you: Communicate and philosophize about current ies that move you. Speaking is important for mental fitness and so is writing. You may feel like keeping a diary, writing lyrical poems, or writing a book. The older we get, the more we have to talk about. Let your loved ones participate in your world. Share your thoughts.
Physically fit into old age
If exercise is part of your life, keep it up and motivate those around you to join in. If you're not that athletic by nature, start now. Start with a short walk in the fresh air, which you extend a little from week to week. Check out the sports clubs in your community to find out what they have to offer seniors. Get off the bus one stop outside your home. Walk the rest. Intentionally park a little farther away from the supermarket, if you are good on your feet. Take every opportunity to be physically active, and avoid convenient options such as escalators and elevators if your health allows you to do so.
Eat healthy food for well-being
A diet plan by experts is certainly the supreme discipline and is always a good idea. If you want to organize your diet yourself, make sure you eat a balanced, wholesome diet that contains plenty of vegetables and fruit. You should also drink an average of 1.5 liters of water a day. Avoid saturated fat, too much sugar and salt. Don't drink too much coffee or black tea. Watch your alcohol consumption. Even better: abstain from alcohol and also nicotine.
Regular health checks
Go regularly to medical examinations and let yourself be checked up on heart and kidneys. Even minor symptoms can be harbingers of illness, so always tell your doctor in detail how you are really feeling. Early treatment approaches are always beneficial for your recovery.
Conclusion: Take care of yourself, get active and stay fit!
Fun and exercise keeps you fit and prevents disease.
The following symptoms may indicate dementia:
– Loss of short-term memory – Difficulty performing habitual activities – Speech disorders and laziness – Declining interest in work, hobbies, and contacts – Difficulty orienting oneself in unfamiliar surroundings – Failure to keep track of financial affairs – Misjudgment of dangers – Mood swings, anxiety, and mistrust – Persistent denial of mistakes, errors, or confusion
What to do at the first suspicion of a dementia disease?
First of all, it is important to remain calm, because for the time being it is only a suspicion, but you should immediately clarify it medically. Forgetfulness in old age does not automatically mean dementia. We know memory impairment at any age. The reasons can often be explained by lack of sleep, lack of oxygen and/or lack of fluids. Forgetfulness in old age is usually caused by not drinking enough. For example, how much did you drink today? Check and optimize your drinking habits to at least 1.5 liters of water per day and observe whether your memory performance improves.
Please still make an appointment with your family doctor to rule out dementia and other serious illnesses. If the suspicion of dementia is confirmed, a neurological examination usually follows. If a form of dementia is indeed confirmed behind the suspected symptoms, it is also important for you to learn about it as early as possible. With an early diagnosis, you can secure your self-determination, which allows you to plan how things should continue for you. At the beginning of the disease, you still have everything in your own hands and can discuss with your relatives how you envision your life with dementia as the disease progresses.
If you suspect dementia, have yourself examined immediately.
What help is available for those affected and their relatives?? The diagnosis "dementia" is for those affected. relatives after the initial shock also an emotional test of endurance. Fears, worries and grief are present, as well as many questions about what will happen next. But there is support for living with dementia.
National support with help from Berlin
"Dementia concerns us all!"says Franziska Giffey, Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. On 01. July 2020 the national dementia strategy adopted. The initiative "Wegweiser Demenz" (dementia guide) was launched back in September and offers important information on the topic of dementia on the service pages of the Federal Ministry, thus providing great support for those affected and their relatives. A forum has also been set up for the exchange of information among those affected by dementia. The goal of the initiative is: "We want to get dementia out of the taboo zone. Support those affected in the midst of our society!"
You are not alone! There is a way to live with the diagnosis. Exchange information with others affected by dementia, draw on their wealth of experience to realize that life with dementia is possible and also has its positive aspects. Stay in dialogue and support each other in the family. Clarify all matters at the beginning of the illness, i.e. as soon as possible, in order to be able to adapt optimally to the care situation. Take care of care powers of attorney and/or a living will. On the Malteser website, for example, you can find helpful templates and information to download. Discuss in good time everything that is desired for the course of care. Be honest and bring all contingencies to the table to relieve yourself.
As soon as you or your relatives have applied to the health insurance company for benefits from the long-term care insurance, the degree of care will be assessed in order to determine the range of benefits with which you will be supported. Important: For the new overall situation, you have a legal right to a care consultation at your home. From care level 2, you are already entitled to several benefits that you can access and support in home care. This includes the Malteser Outpatient Dementia Service.
3 questions to Friederike Coester of the "Ambulant Dementia Service" in Mainz
Friederike Coester, Head of the Malteser Outpatient Dementia Service in Mainz.
Friederike Coester has already been working in the care sector for 25 years. Even during her training in geriatric care, she was intensively involved with the clinical picture of dementia. In her studies for "Nursing and Health Sciences" she also focused on the subject.
For Friederike Coester, working with people suffering from dementia is important and positive work. She has been working full-time for the Malteser Outpatient Dementia Service for eight years.
What is the Malteser Outpatient Dementia Service??
"The Malteser offer is represented nationwide and includes the care of people with dementia – both in the home environment and in group care in our so-called 'Cafe Malta' . At this special event, people affected by dementia come together over coffee and cake and can exchange ideas and experiences. Sometimes they also do handicrafts, paint, sing or play games. In these intensive three hours we create a positive mood for mental fitness. In addition, we are also active in an advisory capacity and always have an open ear for those affected and their relatives in the event of grief and questions. In addition, we are designing other projects that we are also taking to the public in order to create a more positive image for the topic of dementia. It is important for us to convey that the illnesses do not only mean suffering. There are also beautiful moments," says the expert.
"The care is mainly provided by volunteers who are trained in the area of 'dealing with dementia' at the beginning and receive training at regular intervals. There are also regular supervision sessions and workshops where volunteers can share ideas and receive further training. At the Malteser, people affected by dementia are. Your relatives are always in good hands. The outpatient dementia service is a low-threshold offer that can be billed to the nursing care insurance fund as a benefit in kind. 'Anyone suffering from dementia can make use of our outpatient dementia service,' Friederike Coester explains further.
Volunteers in dementia care
"The dementia service is an emotional challenge, but in a positive sense," promises Friederike Coester and is happy to welcome new recruits – young and old alike. Can you imagine volunteering for the dementia service?? Then stop by the Malteser site. Here you can find a suitable commitment for you.
How do you see the clinical picture of dementia after so many years of experience??
"Dementia is of course a diagnosis that scares many people. I would wish myself however that we create it, this overpowering negative picture of these diseases to break up. If one speaks currently about dementia, then also many humans say 'Oh God, I would like to get that on no account, I would rather die there!' That sounds awful. I have been working with people suffering from dementia for a long time now, and I see time and again that they can lead a happy and contented life, even with their families. Of course, there are also courses of the disease or life stories that are tragic. Worry and fear of loss always play a role. Nevertheless, there is also a lot of positive: the community, the joy and that we still have each other. Relatives also tell us about positive feelings, such as unconditional love, trust and belonging. Caring for a person is always very close and intimate, so trust plays a big role. Relationships are strengthened despite stress."
What advice do you have for relatives dealing with dementia?
"Since dementia is currently not yet curable, the central ie in dealing with the disease is to focus on the well-being of the affected person. We succeed best when we can read how those affected are doing, even if they can no longer respond intelligibly. I recommend to relatives. to observe close relatives at an early stage. We can learn to read how someone is doing by observing reactions to emotional triggers. This can be a look in the eyes, a hand movement and breathing. If we start early, we will understand our loved ones with a chance even when they are already submerged in their own emotional world and can no longer answer us intelligibly. In my studies I did an additional training: the 'Dementia Care Mapping'. This method is about assessing the quality of life of people. It's all about relationships and keeping in touch, and what people without dementia can do for the well-being of those affected.