It is normal to experience a wide range of emotions in response to a diagnosis of early-onset dementia, which causes problems in memory, judgment, language and behavior. Early-onset dementia begins before the age of 65. People use a number of coping strategies to deal with their dementia. Keep these things in mind to best cope in ways that help you and your family.
For the Person and the Family Step 1Get an accurate diagnosis. This means getting a thorough physical and mental exam. Some early dementias may be caused by certain medications or treatable diseases. If you can correct these types of problems, you may be able to eliminate the dementia.
Step 2Join a support group. Whether you are a caregiver, a family member, or the person with early dementia, a support group helps you cope with this condition, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance.
Step 3Keep informed of the latest treatment options.
Step 4Rely on humor. Laughter is good for the person with earky dementia and his family and caregivers.
Step 5Keep the lines of communication open. As the dementia progresses, this responsibility falls more on the caregivers and family.
Step 6Consider keeping a journal. Both the person with dementia and family members should do this. Then share the information in the journals. This will be especially useful as the dementia progresses. Write entries together as the dementia gets worse.
Step 7Plan for the future. Get financial and legal matters in order.
For the Person With Early Dementia Step 1Give up bad habits. Smoking, eating fatty foods or junk foods make dementia worse.
Step 2Continue seeing your doctor on a regular basis; he monitors your dementia and gives you useful information.
Step 3Take all your prescribed medications at the proper time. This becomes more difficult as the dementia progresses.
Step 4Tell your family or caregivers about any problems you are having.
Step 5Accept the assistance of your family or caregivers. They help you with your difficulties.
Step 6Eat a balanced diet. The Mediterranean Diet--rich in fish, olive oil, veggies--is delicious and may slow the progression of dementia, according to a Columbia University study published in the Archives of Neurology. Nikolaos Scarmeas, assistant professor of clinical neurology at the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia University Medical Center, said the study showed that the Mediterranean diet is not only protective for cardiovascular risk factors like cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes--dementia patients who closely followed the diet lived an average of four years longer than those who did not--but is also an aid to brain function.
Step 7Exercise daily. Walking, working out at the gym, or exercising at home, all benefit your body and your mind. You'll sleep better, too.
Step 8Stimulate your brain. Try to do a variety of challenging mental activities. Crossword puzzles and other word games, strategy games like checkers, and reading all stimulate your brain. As the dementia gets worse, this becomes increasingly difficult. Do something for as long as you can.
Step 9Try prayer, meditation, and reading spiritual books to help you cope.
Step 10Do harder tasks at a time of day when you feel the most clarity.