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Four Myths of Dementia

Dr Kate Irving debunked the four myths of Dementia in her recent TED talk in Dublin.

Here’s a summary of her main points:

Four Myths of Dementia

Myth #1: Dementia Cannot Be Prevented

Dementia is a disease caused by ageing and if doctors and scientists can delay its onset by a mere five years, it would be reduced by over 50%. The older you get, the more likely it is to get it but the good news is, we can all play a part in slowing down the onset and reducing the risks of getting dementia. Yes, many of the things we should do to reduce the risks are similar to those in reducing the risks of heart disease and many other illnesses too so none of them will come as a surprise. Giving up smoking, drinking in moderation, eating a Mediterranean diet – none of these will surprise you but as Dr. Irving says, it comes down to if you want to be in a high-risk group or a low-risk group?

There is no fountain of youth, there is no elixir of youth, there is no magic cure. Much of our future lies in prevention. Good health now will pay dividends in the future.

Myth #2: Dementia is a Disease with a Diagnosis

The fact is that everyone has different risk factors. Those with dementia have had different causes. They don’t react in a similar way to the onset of dementia. Some will experience memory loss, others will notice behavioural changes. People get worse at different rates too. Many people live independently for many years with a little help after a diagnosis of dementia. A diagnosis does not mean that you are fitted into a ‘dementia box’ and your future will be the same as other people’s. Everyone is completely different and individual.

Myth #3: Nothing Can Be Done Following Diagnosis of Dementia

Of course something can be done but the unfortunate thing is that action can sometimes have negative consequences. Putting people with dementia into a non-stimulating environment, encouraging them to give up hobbies and interests, demeaning them, these actions will only make things worse.

People with dementia need support and scaffolding so their own resistance can flourish.

Myth #4: People with Dementia Can’t Live Normally

Believing that people with dementia cannot live independently in their own home can result in over-caring which can be demeaning as well as removing people’s independence resulting in reducing their self-esteem. People with dementia can live normal lives in their own home for a very long time – as long as they have a little support.

Comfort Keepers home carers provide professional, caring and appropriate care for people who wish to stay living in their own homes. If you or a family member has received a diagnosis of dementia or if you suspect that a diagnosis in imminent, do get in touch and we will help you to plan for an appropriate level of care with frequent revisions. Many of our clients live in their own homes for many many years and that’s the way we want to keep it.

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