Life expectancy has been going up for years, but what is in decline is your quality of life expectancy. There are a lot more problems that come with old age, and almost no one prepares for them. The older you get the more likely you are to develop dementia, for example. Unfortunately no one plans for their dementia care in old age, which can be costly and difficult to manage. But what if there were a better way to care for patients with dementia?
Currently the level of care for dementia patients is lacking in most places. High quality care is expensive, which is cost prohibitive for anyone who didn’t plan for it. The special challenges that go along with dementia care are complex, and without a certain level of planning and forethought you could end up locked in a padded room in your golden years.
There is a great need for innovative dementia care, and currently there are a few people really working to give that care to their patients. One nursing home in Germany built a fake bus stop to give dementia patients a place to run away to when they got upset.
The thinking was that all dementia patients who wandered off started the same way – they went to the bus stop. So why not build a fake bus stop to give them a place to go where they can be found before they wander off and hurt themselves?
Other innovative ideas include the use of doors that look like the patient’s former home. The thinking here is that they will be in somewhat familiar surroundings. Green spaces are also a big thing in dementia care – they have been shown to decrease hostility in dementia patients, which can be a major barrier to quality care. Dementia villages are another concept that allow for a greater quality of life for dementia patients by making them feel less cut off from society.
Dementia is difficult to treat in patients for a number of reasons. First, it is not a condition itself but rather a term used to describe a variety of symptoms. It can be difficult to diagnose especially since patients often try to hide their memory loss from loved ones out of fear.
Oftentimes patients only receive a correct diagnosis post-mortem, as various causes of dementia can be difficult to distinguish from each other. Alzheimer’s Disease is probably the most commonly known form of dementia, but vascular dementia and Dementia with Lewy bodies are also very common. There are more than ten different known causes of dementia currently.
Curing dementia is also very difficult, thanks in part to the various forms and often being unable to correctly diagnose them. The blood-brain barrier also poses a unique challenge as many forms of potential cures aren’t able to cross it.
Because of these challenges in diagnosing and treating dementia, caring for dementia patients is the best we can do right now as a society. Learn more about why there is a great need for innovative dementia care from this infographic!