Friday, January 29, 2010

Understanding Dementia

My grandfather died at the age of 79. I am not sure what primarily caused his death but we were told that he died of old age. I was very young at that time and the only thing I can remember is that my mother, together with my aunt and uncles, would usually complain that my grandfather does not recognize them anymore. They just attributed his inability to recall their names as part of getting old. He just slipped into a state where he became more forgetful and often found does not know what to do. It was very unusual for him because he is known to be a handy man, who always fixes things with his own tools. From being forgetful he gradually lost interest in social activities, became more self-centered. He slowly lacked the will to eat, communicate, and then finally was confined to his bed.

Now looking back and analyzing the series of manifestations my grandfather had, one could surmise that he did not just suffer from an ordinary old age process but instead, he might have had Dementia. The progressive loss of his cognitive function, especially his memory loss, impaired judgment, personality changes, and changes in social behavior were all part of dementia symptoms. According to my cousin, there was also a time he would repeatedly tell a story about the Japanese time. And my cousin, who unfortunately didn't have the right knowledge in dealing such situations, and was obviously alien about understanding dementia was easily irritated and responded the wrong way. My grandfather became fully dependent even in performing activities of daily living. It was really a rough time for my cousin, my mother, and my aunts who took turns in taking care of him.

Without understanding dementia, I can just imagine how difficult the situation was for them, or for anyone who has a family member suffering from such illness. Having no knowledge about it, they become easily frustrated and would sometimes even cause harm to the affected person. I wished my grandfather had proper consultation that time so that with proper diagnosis and knowledge of the disease we were somehow able to get proper dementia treatment for my grandfather and deal better with him.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Laiz how are you? ^_^. My favorite grandpa died of old age two to three years ago but he still recognizes us. My grandmother on my mother's side on the other hand is suffering from Dementia. She has all the symptoms that you mention. You are right, this is a challenging situation for the family taking care of those with dementia. ^_^

    Have a happy weekend ^_^