Dementia is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States with over 5,000,000 people diagnosed. So what exactly is dementia? Dementia is a disturbance in a group of mental processes that include:
Some common signs of dementia include misplacing things, blank stares, trouble recalling words, difficulty solving daily life problems, troubled learning, social and work withdrawal, judgment problems, memory difficulties, confusion and change in personality.
Risk factors of dementia include advancing age, family history, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, head trauma, strokes and late life depression.
At St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, we take a unique approach to caring for those suffering from dementia. Our dedicated geriatric psychiatry unit provides a safe level of care for those ages 55 and over suffering from dementia and other behavioral health issues. With a focus on restoring patients to good emotional and physical health, our comprehensive program addresses co-existing medical illnesses, medications, family concerns, and social and environmental issues.
“At St. Vincent Charity, we treat these patients differently and we know exactly how to approach them,” said Janine Smalley, MSN, RN-BC, ECT Program Coordinator. “It’s important to always remember that those suffering from dementia are not giving you a hard time, they just simply are going through a hard time.”
Treatment is goal-directed and encourages patient participation. The geriatric team understands the patient’s particular healthcare needs, as well as their family situations, and strives to provide the help needed to restore good emotional health in the least restrictive environment. Additionally, St. Vincent Charity provides these patients with music and art therapy sessions that allow them to explore and express their feelings in a new, creative way.
There are many myths about dementia and it is important to educate people on the facts for proper treatment. Here are some common myths about dementia:
- Dementia is a disease
- Alzheimer’s disease is not fatal
- Only old people can get dementia
- Artificial sweeteners like aspartame can cause dementia
- Aluminum intake can cause Alzheimer’s dementia
- Alzheimer's is the same as dementia