Understanding the Effectiveness of Dementia Care in Middle-income Countries
Dementia can be a frustrating challenge for many people. Dementia can affect a normal aging person's memory, mood, behavior and ability to think clearly. Dementia can also complicate many physical health issues that patients with dementia can exhibit: This challenge can be compounded by the fact that many people in middle-income countries do not have the adequate resources to properly care for their elderly loved ones in their absence. Dementia is not a disease that starts in the brain. Rather, it develops slowly over time. Some symptoms may become apparent very early on, and others may not manifest until the disease has progressed into a more advanced stage. As such, dementia care can be difficult for middle-income countries to afford. However, even in lower-income countries, there is a ray of hope. There is now available care that can address each of these issues from a unique angle. Answering the question of what type of caregiver would be best for my loved one with dementia requires a comprehensive assessment of the individual patient. This involves assessing both the severity of the patient's condition, and the effects that their condition may be having on the care of the individual in their absence. A number of factors are included in this assessment: Some types of symptoms of dementia can manifest themselves in a number of different ways. Some types of symptoms are more obvious than others. For example, a patient suffering from severe sleep apnea and snoring are likely to display some behavior modification (such as avoiding alcohol and sleeping on their side) or cognitive therapy. Similarly, middle-income countries may not be able to afford some types of treatments that address more subtle symptoms of sleepiness and snoring, for example. Another issue that is unique to dementia is the interaction of the patient and the caregiver. As it becomes increasingly clear that a combination of different behaviors is required in order to care for an elderly person with dementia, caregivers are becoming more aware of how their actions effect the patient. In some cases, appropriate behaviors (such as maintaining a regular schedule) may not reduce or eliminate the symptoms. Similarly, inappropriate behaviors may exacerbate the effects of the condition. For example, inappropriate physical and verbal cues can be a major problem for older people with dementia. Caregivers should be educated about the effects of these behaviors on the patient, in order to avoid aggravating his or her condition. As dementia advances and becomes more common, it has become imperative that we as caregivers create programs for both the patient and caregiver to work together in order to prevent progression of the condition. Currently, many different types of programs are available. Many of these are readily available through healthcare providers and other organizations such as local government. However, many of these programs are still developing so that they can meet the needs of all individuals who live with someone who has dementia.