As a care worker, there is a good chance that the majority of your clients will be in the 70 or older age bracket. Because of this, it is important that you have an understanding of the most common conditions that clients of this age experience.
Research shows that when you reach 70 years or older, your chances of contracting Dementia increases significantly.
The purpose of this section is to introduce the person with Dementia and to set a context for caring for those who have Alzheimer’s disease – a disease of the brain that forever changes a person’s memory, behaviour and ability to care for oneself.
Dementia refers to a spectrum of brain disorders. These involve difficulty with memory and thinking, but they may vary in terms of cause, course and prognosis.
Dementia involves impairment in multiple facets of cognition. This can include visual/spatial skills, the ability to think, reason, talk and remember, and praxis functions. Personality and mood may also be affected.
Dementia is not a normal part of ageing. Although we hear people suffer from Dementia or are diagnosed as having Dementia, Dementia itself is not the diagnosis. We need to identify the type of Dementia and the causes, some of which may be reversible, but most of which are incurable.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of Dementia. It is an irreversible, progressive disease. It causes gradual deterioration of mental functions and of the ability to take care of one’s self.