Five Dementia Myths Debunked

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Carisa Livingston, Spring Mill Administrator

Dementia is a challenge that many families are dealing with today — and that many more are going to face in the future. After the age of 65, the number of people with dementia doubles for every five additional years of life, and we’re now seeing a variety of different dementia types that require care.

Myth 1: Dementia is only a concern for the oldest generation.

While dementia diagnoses are most prevalent among people older than 65, younger people may also experience symptoms. In fact, early-onset Alzheimer’s disease has been detected in individuals in their 30s.

Myth 2: It’s all in the genes; a family history of dementia makes it unavoidable.

Yes, research has shown that some genetic combinations are more prone to dementia than others, but simply having that genetic makeup doesn’t guarantee that a person will have dementia. As with any health condition, a number of lifestyle and genetic factors, when combined, determine the level of risk.

Myth 3: People with dementia don’t even realize it.

Memory loss is the key identifying feature of most types of dementia, but that doesn’t always impact a person’s ability to reason and be introspective. Individuals with dementia are often aware that something isn’t right, especially in the early stages. Often, these insights come when a person fails to perform a routine task or when he or she can’t recall specific cherished memories. Eventually, a pattern emerges, and a visit to the doctor is arranged to check for dementia.

Myth 4: Those with dementia can be aggressive.  

Dementia affects everyone differently. The association of dementia with aggression comes from the frustration and anger that individuals feel when they are unable to take part in daily life like they used to. This feeling of helplessness is often emoted negatively for lack of a better outlet. Memory support communities like Spring Mill have team members trained in the latest techniques and therapies that let individuals be as independent as possible.  This personal approach puts residents at ease by anticipating their needs before they arise.

Myth 5: Nothing can be done to help an individual with dementia.

This couldn’t be further from the truth! While the physical effects of dementia cannot be reversed, the latest science shows that symptoms can be slowed with holistic, person-centered support programs, like those offered at Spring Mill. Our approach to caring for your loved one with dementia provides a special focus on each experience — from dining, to gardening, to spirituality and much more. Through these efforts, individuals can remain independent longer and retain as much of their mental capacity as possible, especially when compared to those who remain in their homes or isolated.

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