When caring for someone with Dementia, mental capacities will begin to decline at a steady or fast rate depending on the severity of the condition. Physiotherapy can improve the mobility of those living with dementia, it can slow down their cognitive deterioration – providing a better quality of life.
WHAT IS DEMENTIA?
Dementia can be described as symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. These disorders can mess with one’s memory retention but also cognitive such as: thinking, language, perception, judgement, behavioural patterns and can negatively impact ability to perform everyday tasks.
Dementia is the second leading health concern among adults after cancer. Dementia affects Australian’s 65 years and over and can be classified as the leading cause of death among Australian females.
TYPES OF DEMENTIA
Dementia isn’t as easy as one classification there are multiple branches under the one, here are the different forms:
- Cortical Dementia: associated with damage that primarily affects the brain’s cortex or outermost layer causing problems with memory, language, thought processing and behavioural patterns.
- Sub-cortical Dementia: associated with damage that primarily affects the part of the below the cortex, causing issues with emotions, movement and memory.
- Progressive Dementia: describes dementia that gradually gets worse causing problems with more cognitive abilities as it develops
- Primary Dementia: dementia that is not caused by another disease or injury
- Secondary dementia: dementia caused by another disease or injury
SYMPTOMS OF DEMENTIA
The early signs of dementia are forgetfulness, other symptoms associated with dementia include:
- Memory impairment – inability or impaired ability to retain new information or recall past information
- Aphasia – inability to understand or produce speech
- Apraxia – inability to perform motor activities despite motor functions being available
- Agnosia – inability to recognise or identify objects despite having the sensory abilities
- Inability to plan, organise, sequence or think
Dementia affects one’s way of life dramatically, it can lead sufferers to mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, with depression affecting a huge 20-30% of sufferers and anxiety affecting 20%. As you can imagine, dementia can be very difficult to come to terms with.
PHYSIOTHERAPY CAN HELP
Physiotherapy is considered to be an active effective treatment option for people with Dementia. Have you ever heard of the saying ‘what’s good for your heart, is good for your brain’.
Which evidently, working on cardio fitness, healthier physiological habits and caring for your body as a whole is a productive way to prevent the onset of dementia. Dementia physiotherapy focuses on the goal of creating more independence for people living with dementia in two major ways:
- Promoting a physically active lifestyle which helps with both physical and mental health
- Educating carers and family members about home safety ideas, strategies to reduce falls and injuries, and communication techniques to improve everyone’s quality of life