According to the Institute for Dementia Research & Prevention, there are at least 5 million individuals in the United States with age-related dementias (other sources put the number much higher). Of these, Alzheimer’s accounts for approximately 70%, with vascular dementia counting for the majority of the remaining cases. Living with dementia is not only difficult for people who receive this diagnosis but also for their families. Understanding the complex and often misunderstood cognitive losses associated with dementia can leave all of us wondering what to do to ensure that our loved ones can LIVE with dementia, not succumb to its challenges and even the myths associated with it.
As part of our broader commitment to this field of study, Larmax is partnering with the Dementia Action Alliance to bring one of the world’s renowned experts in the field, Dr. Gayatri Devi, to Washington on September 24, 2018 for a program designed to help both those diagnosed with dementia as well as their care partners understand how to have a positive perspective and impact on their lives while living with this disease. Her recent book, The Spectrum of Home: An Optimistic and New Approach to Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, was featured on CBS This Morning. If you would like to hear Dr. Devi speak, visit https://www.cbsnews.com/video/neurologist-on-alzheimers-spectrum-treatment-myths/. I encourage both those diagnosed with dementia or their support partners to read this book as it will give you hope.
While it is impossible to share the wisdom found in Spectrum of Hope in a blog, several points cannot be overlooked:
- Dementia is unique to each person, presenting different symptoms, progress and treatments. In fact, the progression of dementia in even the same person can vary over time.
- The majority of people with Alzheimer’s disease are living functional lives in their communities.
- Attending to the emotional needs of a caregiver is as important as those of the patient. Without personal time, burnout will happen, whether you are a family member or paid caregiver.
Understanding the real story, not the myths and the emotion, about dementia is critical to successfully navigating the journey – either as a support partner or patient. Decisions should be made on facts, not fear. One thing is clear from Dr. Devi’s work, with the right perspective, knowledge and professional assistance, people can LIVE with dementia. The road might not look like the one you planned to take; nonetheless, there can be joy and successes. We will, in future blogs, offer some tools to make the journey a little easier. In the meantime, we encourage you to come hear Dr. Devi speak and read her book. It’s enlightening!