According to studies, every 3 seconds, someone in the world develops dementia. While the most apparent symptom is memory loss, dementia often comes with various side effects such as anxiety, confusion, and loss of basic functioning. Many patients experience both cognitive and psychological changes as senile dementia develops, which can be overwhelming. Here are just a few ways to manage dementia’s various symptoms in a safe, natural manner.
To best relieve the symptoms and side effects of dementia, it’s important to understand its roots. Dementia is often considered an single disease, but just like lung disease, dementia has subcategories. These categories of disorders are under the umbrella of dementia as conditions associated with memory loss and a decline in daily cognitive functions. Most patients with dementia are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, a disease that progresses through stages of decreased memory and behavioral skills. While most patients find a steady decline, some forms of dementia are curable, including those caused by thyroid dysfunction or deficiencies.
Diet and exercise
Maintaining a healthy diet can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia. A healthy intake of leafy greens and fish has been shown to increase cognitive function. Foods like spinach, kale, halibut, chocolate, and fruits high in antioxidants can boost brain activity. In contrast, white foods, processed foods, and those high in diacetyl or nitrate can increase the risk of memory loss and decrease brain functioning.
Keeping an active lifestyle and maintaining healthy body functions has a positive effect on mental health as well. During physical exercise, chemicals in the brain are stimulated that aid in maintaining brain cells. Keeping an active lifestyle also decreases inflammation throughout the body, reduces insulin resistance, and aids in healthy sleep patterns. When the body is in good standing, the strength of the mind will follow.
Keeping the brain stimulated keeps it functioning at its highest capacities. Incorporating word games, Sudoku, crossword puzzles, or jigsaw puzzles into a daily schedule can help patients with memory loss to better retain information. Viewing photographs and videos of past experiences regularly can also help to keep the mind sharp to delay memory loss.
Exposure to places, people, and photographs associated with happy memories can trigger memories otherwise hidden in the mind. A familiar taste, smell, or sight can be enough to spark a memory that was once lost. Keeping photo albums for dementia patients to view daily can help them to remember their childhoods, family members, occupations, and other memories that fade as a result of their disease.
Since the days of ancient Egyptians, oils have been used both medicinally and ceremonially. The healing powers of essential oils are once again in high demand, in everything from chronic pain to anxiety reduction. Many patients experiencing dementia experience panic attacks when faced with suddenly unfamiliarly surroundings and company. Creating a relaxed environment by diffusing lavender or rose essential oil can soothe these anxiety attacks and provide comfort.
Having a form of expression can relieve the confusion in many dementia patients. When nothing feels familiar, associating certain color schemes, landscapes, or images through art classes or photography can aid the mind in retaining memories. For those with complete long-term memory loss, having a steady schedule of activities creates much-needed structure and order.
While many diseases categorized under dementia are irreversible, creating a structured yet relaxed environment for patients can ease their side effects. The worry and confusion of memory loss is an overwhelming experience that deserves compassion and patience. Incorporating safe, natural methods of healing can aid in daily coping, and ultimately ease the side effects of dementia and its underlying diseases.