DEMENTIA SERIES II
Before you go around accusing your parents or elderly ones of witchcraft or voodoo, you need to know that dementia is not related to either witchcraft or voodoo nor is it a repercussion of sins or evils done when they were younger. Dementia is not a judgement of who we are or the lives that we have lived.
Dementia is a disease condition like other diseases such as hypertension or diabetes and it requires compassion, empathy and love from all of us. This is a medical condition that can be diagnosed and managed effectively.
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To absolutely clear your doubts, keep on reading as I discuss some prominent personalities who had dementia.
Have you heard that the 40th President of the United States of America, who was previously the 33rd Governor of California and a Hollywood actor and was nicknamed the great communicator due to his captivating communication skills? Can you now remember his name? he’s the captivating Ronald Reagan the Teflon President. He was diagnosed of Alzheimer dementia at the age of eighty-three.
Before him, Rosa Louise Parks, the phenomenal civil rights activist of the Montgomery bus boycott wherein she refused to give up her seat to a white man in 1955 which inspired the famous Montgomery Bus Boycott led by the great Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr, whom till today remains a symbol of dignity and strength in the struggle to end racial segregation despite the fact that she was diagnosed of Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 92.
What about the third-highest winning coach in the history of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) women’s basketball, she created a legacy of excellence on the basketball court and off the basketball court, she also went to coach the United States of America team to gold medals at the Olympics and was inducted in the basketball hall of fame in 2000. She’s the great Pat Summit who was and still remains an inspiration to many. Despite her diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2011, she still kept on coaching and giving the world her very best.
Do you also remember the great actor and comedian Robin Williams who started his career as a stand-up comedian in the 1970s and went on to become one of the great comedians and actors of our time based on his exceptional manic stand-up comedy and diverse film performances, he starred in the “Angriest man in Brooklyn”, that was my most favorite movie he featured in. He also starred in “Good Will Hunting and received an Academy award for his performance. He also went on to win six Golden Globe Awards and five Grammy Awards. He was also diagnosed of dementia which was confirmed to be the Lewy body variant as revealed by his wife after his death.
Away from the international scene, back home, I’m almost sure that you must know the very talented Oludotun Baiyewu Jacobs, the great actor and film executive whose career spans five decades is one of our very best in Nigeria. He’s a globally renowned and multiple-award winning actor. He got married to an equally renowned and multiple-award winning actress-Joke Silva, they represent the power couple of screenplays.
Then on the 20th of November, 2021, we got teary eyed as his lovely wife-Joke Silva shared with us that the great Olu Silva has been diagnosed of dementia-the Lewy body variant. This came to light after the veteran actor was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Africa International Film Festival Awards that was held in Lagos last year.
All of the stories above are to show you that you shouldn’t be gloomy or depressed about a dementia diagnosis for either yourself, or your elderly loved ones because, even those with the privilege of the best healthcare, and have access to the best of resources come down with dementia. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT, seek expert help by https://gerocare.org/contact-us
SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS
Symptoms are changes or abnormalities that you notice in yourself or which get noticed by others while signs are findings discovered by the Doctor when you go to the health facility.
Now, let’s talk about the symptoms and leave the signs to the doctors. The symptoms of dementia are generally noticed by the relatives, and are present in different ways but they can be categorized into three stages:
Early stage: This stage is often missed because it is gradual, it involves forgetfulness, losing track of time and getting lost in familiar places. Difficulty in learning, retaining new information, mood swings and personality changes begin to develop.
To avoid missing these signs, we advise that elderly ones should get home care visits especially in Nigeria for constant medical checkup. Kindly go on to https://gerocare.org/contact-us
Middle stage: The symptoms become more obvious at this stage and include forgetfulness of recent events, people’s names, becoming confused while at home, difficulty with communication, requiring assistance with personal care and behaviour changes which involves repeated questioning and wandering/roaming about.
Late stage: This is the stage wherein the person with dementia requires almost total support as he or she would be dependent and inactive, the symptoms are worse at this stage especially the decline in memory. The symptoms at this stage include being unaware of the time and place, difficulty in recognising loved ones, an increased need for assistance in personal care and behavioral changes that may include aggression. For a comprehensive care plan at this stage, click on https://gerocare.org/contact-us