Published on 16 Jun 2019
There are 3 stages in the progression of dementia.
A person with mild dementia may need assistance in instrumental activities such as managing finances, paying bills, marketing, operating complex appliances. They may lose track of time and events.
In the moderate stage, he/she may need assistance with basic day-to-day activities such as showering, toileting, personal hygiene and grooming. Occasionally, they may experience urine and bowel incontinence. Some behavioural changes may happen, such as becoming withdrawn, irritable, agitated or even losing their way.
In the severe stage, a person with dementia may be totally dependent on their caregiver to provide personal care for activities like showering, using the toilet and eating. He or she may be talking less, eventually leading to the inability to speak.
Like senility, dementia can cause changes in mental health, such as memory loss or decline in judgement.
However, senility also includes physical symptoms such as stiff joints, decreased strength, brittle bones and loss of hearing or sight.
You may be noticing your loved one becoming more forgetful, misplacing things and getting lost in familiar environments. These may be signs to get him or her evaluated by a medical professional. Accurate diagnosis for dementia is important as other factors like depression, hypothyroidism and vitamin deficiencies also exhibit similar symptoms to dementia.
Diagnosing dementia may include:
Early detection and diagnosis enables you to better manage the functional decline due to dementia. A diagnosis also helps you to better understand and react to challenging behavioural changes like agitation and withdrawal. Finally, your family will be able to plan ahead for the future; including your finances, future health choices and medical care for your loved one.
Mr Tan*, age 73, has been an NTUC Health Home Care client for 3+ years. He suffers from late stage dementia and has difficulty talking, standing and swallowing. He lives in a landed property in Kranji with his wife, son, daughter and domestic helper. Our Care Associate, Ruben, visits him twice a week for 3 hours:
Mrs Lai*, age 76, suffers from dementia. Like many dementia patients, she struggles with inertia. Physiotherapist Christina explains to her and her family the importance of moving and developing a routine. Mrs Lai sees Christina twice a week for 4 – 5 months. When Christina first saw her, she would only shower once a month. After therapy, she would shower every other day.
*These are case examples of how we support clients with dementia.
Need affordable caregiving services? Find help with our Dementia Day Care services by calling 6715 6762. Alternatively, engage our Home Care associates to care for your loved one at home by calling 6715 6715.
Caring for a loved one with dementia may require professional caregiving help. Find tips on how to communicate with a loved one who has dementia, and how to choose the right service for your needs.
With COVID-19, many of us, especially our seniors, are encouraged to stay in. For those who are caregivers for seniors with dementia, how can you best help our seniors living with dementia tide over these confusing times?
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