An Enlightening Talk on Dementia

An enlightening talk by Dr Harnek Singh Badeshae from KPJ Ipoh,  Consultant Physician & Geriatrician on the topic ‘Understanding Dementia: From a Geriatrician’s Perspective‘ to dementia patients and caregivers at the Dementia Cafe of Ipoh was given earlier this morning.

In the talk he explained the situation of dementia in Malaysia, and how the data collected may be insufficient. He also explained that while dementia is more likely to occur in the aged demographic, it is not an “old person” condition. Simply being old won’t cause someone to have dementia, but there is a higher proportion in the above 65 age group.

He also explained that dementia is an umbrella term, as there are many types of dementia, and that they have to accurately determine what kind of dementia is being suffered to prevent misdiagnosis, which could lead to things becoming worse due to the wrong treatment being administered.

For instance, someone suffering from depression could suffer from symptoms that resemble dementia, such as lack of focus and poor memory. This is called pseudo dementia and is a reversible condition.

Therefore, it is important to know the history of the person who may be suffering from dementia, to talk to them directly, as well as to communicate with the people who know them best, such as their partner or other family members, so as to determine if there have been actual changes in behavior and so forth.

But even that’s not the end of the line. Even the carer’s condition must be assessed. The carer’s burdens can also contribute to a correct or incorrect diagnosis. A carer who is stressed and frustrated with the patient, may think that the patient has symptoms of dementia, but it could simply be their own point of view being skewed.

Dr Harnek’s talk was followed by a simple demonstration from an Occupational Therapist on games and activities that could help in dementia care; blood pressure and blood glucose screening, and hearing tests  were offered to the dementia patients.

Dr Harnek went on to elaborate that gaining a better understanding of what it is like to live with dementia can help you support someone  the condition to live well. Understanding the symptoms and signs of dementia is crucial for caregivers because it helps them provide better care and support for individuals with dementia.

Additionally, KPJ was also on hand to provide some medical check ups, free of charge.

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