Dementia is becoming a more commonly occurring medical condition these days, unfortunately. Almost everyone knows someone who is struggling with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. Whether it’s a family member, friend, or relative of someone you know, many people have been affected by this terrible disease. And now with the increase in prevalence and awareness for dementia, many myths are circulating. But it is important to address some of these fallacies and understand the truth. With that in mind, here are five myths about dementia along with the facts.
1. Memory loss is part of the aging process
The truth is that although being somewhat more forgetful can come along with getting older, the level of memory loss associated with dementia is not inevitable with aging. But knowing the difference is where the confusion comes in. Learn about the differences and always talk with a medical professional right away if you suspect dementia in a loved one.
2. People in a younger age range do not get dementia
Another sad reality of dementia is that people much younger than senior citizens can be diagnosed with what’s called Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s. Although not as common as elderly having the condition, people as young as 50’s, 40’s, and even 30’s.
3. Dementia does not lead to disability or death
Unfortunately, this is false. In fact, certain types of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease can lead to death. It also leads to profound disability that causes a great deal of suffering in people who have the condition as well as their loved ones. The disability is so severe because of the destruction of brain cells associated with the condition that eventually the person cannot walk, talk, eat, or even think. Knowing this truth helps people to understand the importance of getting professional help early to slow the process and get proper assistance.
4. Aluminum exposure can cause dementia
In the past, people wondered whether being exposed to aluminum in various forms, such as cans and pots, could contribute to a person getting dementia. Research has since proven that suspicion to be false.
5. There is nothing you can do once diagnosed
By definition, dementia is a progressive disease but there are still ways to slow the process. Studies show that brain exercises can delay decline in cognitive abilities. Keep the brain active by playing brain games such cross-word puzzles, board games, and memorizing facts. With these activities, make sure to also stay physically and socially active as possible.
Dementia is an extremely challenging condition for patients and their loved ones. But information is power, and just knowing more about the illness can help everyone weather the storms of dementia much better. Make sure you and your loved ones know the truth and ignore the myths surrounding dementia.