Dementia affects more than 50 million people worldwide today, and the number of patients is predicted to grow to 150 million by 2050. It is not just an age-related condition and can even infect people in their 20s. Still, the misinformation and myths associated with Dementia are so ingrained in the backbone of our society that it increasingly becomes harder to detect and treat the disease.
Dementia is a common term for a chronic functional decline caused by disease or damage in the brain, where Alzheimer’s disease is the most common. During this decline, the need for help from others is unavoidable. The focus moves from maintaining daily functioning and activities in the early phase toward comfort and well-being in the late stage.
In the late, severe stage of Dementia, the patients will be entirely dependent on others, and patients will eventually die. According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, the World Health Organization, and the Norwegian Dementia Plan 2020, dementia treatment and care need to be based on the values of person-centered care. Thus, in providing the appropriate treatment and support for people with Dementia’s needs and fundamental human rights, knowledge about how people with dementia experience and cope with their current and future life-situation is fundamental.
That’s why it is crucial for us as a society to understand and include Dementia in our common discussions, as there have been several cases where the person with Dementia has been misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and treated unfairly. People in their later stages aren’t even able to remember their homes, so lost patients have a hard time returning and thus are in danger of accidents and violence. But with a proper public understanding of the disease, people can easily understand what is happening and help the patients.
Patience is absolutely necessary while dealing with people suffering from Dementia. Treating them with compassion and empathy is even more important so they can live their final days peacefully. Do not consider the demented like children as their brains have deteriorated too much that they slur their speech, misunderstand words, and act out based on pure emotion. And yet, they must be treated with dignity and respect as there may be better days between the bad ones, and nobody knows what words or attitudes of people can cause hurt and trauma to them.
Finally, we request that information about Dementia must be spread so that the mental issues caused to the patients and caretakers can be minimized if the rest of us do our best regarding their treatment.