In-Service Training Topic
Elder Care

In this corner we will be talking about issues that mainly concern our growing population of elders but (young at heart). Because the age group 65 and over is one of the most growing segments of our community, special care and attention is needed towards them.
This sector of our community has a great impact on us as a unit and as individuals. Managing this group takes a lot of skills and know how.

It is very important for the young at heart group to realize the changes that they are going through and learn how to manage their lives. It is equally important for the children of the young at heart group to learn how to deal with, manage and provide care for them.
There is no easy way out, but we the children need to know how to treat our elderly with care because our children are observing and learning those behaviors as well.

In this issue we will discuss Dementia.
It is very important to learn about the conditions that encounter our elderly population in order to improve our ways of dealing with them. One of the most common issues is the change in their personality (Memory, concentration, depression, aggressiveness …etc.) due to Dementia.
Dementia is defined as a group of symptoms involving progressive impairment of all aspects of the brain function. There are many forms of dementia. Some types are reversible while other types are not. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia among the elderly.
Disorders that cause dementia are usually disorders that impair the blood vessels (small brain infarcts) and/or neurological structure of the brain.
Dementia usually first appears as a sign of forgetfulness, memory loss and withdrawal from social interaction.
What makes this condition challenging at the present time is the fact that most of the causes are not preventable.
Dementia can have a very slow and subtle onset which makes it harder on the family to understand and cope with it (his/her personality has changed and is not as pleasant as before). That is why it is very important to recognize early Signs/Symptoms (S/S) and consult medical health doctors.
Early S/S will include (we need to keep in mind that not everyone manifests the same way) the Following:
*Loss of Memory
*Fluctuation in mental Status
*personality change (Irritable, poor temper control, anxiety, depression and decrease in daily living activities)
*alteration in sensation
*alteration in sleep pattern
*language change
*alteration in muscle movement including gait
Those are major S/S that can be manifested in an elderly person over a long period of time which makes it very challenging for the caregiver to detect and report to the health provider.
The sooner those S/S are noticed and reported, the sooner the treatment plan will be implemented with the goals of controlling the symptoms of dementia. The typical treatment plan will include such things as medications, providing a safe environment, in home care, or Adult day Health care Centers.
It is very hard for the caregiver to understand and respond properly to all those changes in the family. That way it is very important to know as much about this condition and available resources to help in dealing with this issue. Dementia can exert a tremendous pressure on the patient and the caregiver, however; with knowledge and skills it becomes easier to handle