Living with Dementia
In brief, my search topic of interest entails individuals living with and coping with dementia, which is a collective term that describes signs and symptoms that are associated with loosing of memory and other thinking abilities. This causes difficulties in someone’s day-to-day activities due to decline in memory. Dementias are grouped according to the part of the brain affected or whether they get severe with time. There are different types of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular dementia, and mixed dementia. The three are the most common with the latter common to people over the age of 85 years. Living with dementia is quite tricky due to high levels of forgetfulness leading to confusions.
Before conducting a preliminary search of the academic literature, my understanding was that living with this disorder is hard since recalling day-to-day activities is key, understanding, mainly shaped by lives of older adults who exceed 90 years. With the higher percentage of patients who have dementia being the elderly, living among them exposes one to living with dementia. They live with difficulties since recalling is hard making day-to-day activities extremely unmanageable.
The significance of this great topic most especially to nursing as nurses can help dementia patients in having a smooth lifestyle despite the decline in memory. The patients should be guided accordingly by qualified physicians to ensure a life free from hardships. Patients tend to lose the ability to carry out daily roles since they slowly lose the functional capacity of the brain. In extreme cases, they quickly lose control of their feelings and act violently.
They thus need care and support to ensure that their life is smooth and with no difficulties, which are best done through planning to counter future problems. This position is supported by a recent publication, Experiences, and Expectations of Living with Dementia: A Qualitative study of 2016 written by Read, Toye and Wynaden who suggest that prior planning how to take care of dementia patients is fundamental to ensure that they get access to everything they require to remain comfortable.
In my preliminary search of the academic literature, I identified two recently published nursing research publications, Collegian of 2016 and BMJ Open of 2016, using the search terms in the nursing profession to depict on how to live healthy with dementia. The three reasons for selecting these two articles are explained below. First, they provide information on how to care for dementia patients in several ways. Involvement by clinicians in decision making health and care-related treatment, as well as judgments in support and management, facilitate rapport (Daly, Bunn & Goodman, 2016).
They provide platforms to discuss significant steps and then leave the patient to evaluate whether they prove useful or harmful for them to respond. Secondly, they articulate the problems that the dementia patients pass through. These challenges include uncertainty of their future lives, the fear of being a problem to their caretakers, issues in the fundamental psychological process, as well as loosing of control and acting violently (Read, Toye & Wynaden, 2016). Thirdly, they provide information on the signs and symptoms of the disease to help in early diagnoses to prevent severe cases, for instance, loss of weight.
The identified purpose of the first article is to highlight the problems faced by dementia patients. It gives detailed information about the difficulties people undergo due to the illness and how these challenges make it complicated to carry day-to-day activities due to memory loss. The identified purpose of the second article is to give solutions to these problems affecting these patients. It provides significant ways in which to ensure that the patients remain comfortable in their daily lives and do not pass through hardships. Patients are taught on accepting the condition and improving their self-esteem while their caretakers learn to appreciate them with no discrimination.
After going through the two articles thoroughly, my original understanding of the topic is contradicted since dementia patients can still lead quite a healthy life if taken care of properly. They can even live happily and freely in the society if they have people who take care of them and accept their state and move on. Clinicians can offer guidance on how to cope with this mental disorder and to take care of them to ensure that they feel loved. Also, some medication might be given to reduce the condition and prevent its advancement in some dementia types.
The ontological and epistemological approaches revealed in the articles are useful in ensuring that those living with this mental disorder still lead a life almost similar to healthy persons. This is only achievable if the society accepts them and intermingles with them freely without discriminating or insulting them. Their caretakers should also handle them with love and concern to ensure that they feel loved to prevent them from losing their self-esteem.
Additionally, they should accept their status and allow people to take care of them peacefully, as well as control their emotions. If one is put on medication, he or she should follow it strictly to prevent advancement of the disease to severe levels which are more difficult to control (Daly, Bunn & Goodman, 2016). Dementia is not a disease for the elderly but a disease that anyone can succumb to and thus people should collectively work towards helping those with the disorder for them to feel accepted in the society and live happily.
People living with dementia feel embarrassed in the society since they cannot even participate in decision making. They also have to rely on others for help and reminding them in issues that they forget. This makes them feel that they are a burden to the society and seem useless as they cannot even plan for their future. Thus, they need love and care for them to enhance their self-esteem and live happier.
Daly, R., Bunn, F., & Goodman, C. (2016). Shared decision-making for people living with dementia in extended care settings: protocol for a systematic review. BMJ Open, 6(11), e012955. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012955.
Read, S., Toye, C., & Wynaden, D. (2016). Experiences and expectations of living with dementia: A qualitative study. Collegian, 24(5), 427-432. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.colegn.2016.09.003.