Dementia is a mental illness that results in the loss of cognitive functioning. Seniors that live with dementia find it hard to think, remember, and reason with, so much so, that it can make carrying out daily tasks such as eating, clothing, and bathing, problematic.
While dementia is most commonly found in seniors over 65, it isn’t a part of normal aging. Many seniors, even over 90, have shown no signs of dementia symptoms.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, dementia is a growing cause of concern for Canada’s healthcare systems. As the Canadian senior population continues to rise, more and more seniors are expected to be diagnosed with dementia in the coming years.
This is why it is fundamental for loved ones, seniors, and caregivers to understand the challenges presented by dementia and explore the medical and non-medical alternatives that help with the management of dementia symptoms.
If that’s what you are here to learn about, you have come to the right place. Let’s get started!
What Is Dementia & Its Types?
Dementia is classified as any neurodegenerative disorder that results in a progressive and irreversible loss of brain and cognitive functioning. As of writing this blog, there is still no known cure for dementia and the only medications out there are to help with managing symptoms.
Dementia is also classified into different types. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia that commonly occurs in older adults. Nearly 60-70% of dementia patients are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Other rare forms of dementia include frontotemporal dementia, vascular dementia, and Lewy body dementia. Sometimes, a patient can be diagnosed with two or more types of dementia, known as mixed dementia, which can make symptom management through pharmacological means even harder.
Different Types of Non-Medical Therapies for Managing Dementia Symptoms
While there are many pharmacological medications for treating dementia symptoms, different types of non-medical therapies have also proven to be quite effective.
Non-medical therapies are an alternative treatment method that doesn’t involve the use of drugs to manage symptoms. Instead, it relies on therapeutic and organic solutions to get the desired results which helps eliminate the risk of any medication side effects.
Here are the most common types of non-medical therapies for managing dementia symptoms.
Massage therapy can bring both comfort and relief to seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Body massages can help reduce stress, pain, tension, and muscular soreness. It can also help increase alertness and energy levels. For seniors, regular massages can also lead to health benefits such as decreasing blood pressure and heart rate and enhancing immunological function.
Raising and taking care of a pet is proven to be an effective method for reducing agitation and helping seniors stay more relaxed. Pet therapy is especially effective for dementia patients who are more prone to depression, sadness, and social isolation.
This form of therapy uses essential oils for therapeutic benefits. When the scent of these oils is inhaled it can stimulate the brain to either relax, trigger certain emotions, or bring back certain memories. This form of therapy is widely used for relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Similar to aromatherapy, music therapy utilizes music to stimulate certain areas of the brain to help trigger positive emotions and happy memories. To learn more check out our blog on music therapy for dementia.
Other Alternative Forms of Non-Medical Treatments
While the therapies listed above are scientifically backed by data to help prove their effectiveness, the same cannot be said about these alternative treatments.
Many seniors who live with dementia claim that cannabis helps them counteract dementia symptoms like mood changes and memory loss. While there is no concrete data to back these claims, CBD and marijuana products have grown in immense popularity in recent years for their many medicinal and health benefits.
Natural Health Products
Products like dietary supplements, meal replacements, and herbal remedies are also said to help counteract symptoms of dementia.
Certain plants such as the Ginkgo biloba are believed by many to help those living with Alzheimer’s better deal with their symptoms. The plant is known for its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects which theoretically can help slightly improve memory and cognitive functioning.
Melatonin is another natural health product that can help with relaxation and sleep for seniors with dementia.
Finally, omega-3 fatty acids are believed to have many health benefits for the brain and supposedly help slow down the progression of dementia.
How can coconut oil help with dementia? The claim has to do with the properties that coconut oil possesses when it comes to nourishing the brain. Although unproven, coconut oil is believed to help brain cells metabolize glucose, helping keep the brain sharp and active even as you age.
Senior Care In Nova Scotia Made Easy By Northwood Intouch!
As there is no cure for dementia, there are many medicinal treatments, therapies, and tonics out there that claim to help with the management of dementia symptoms.
However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before trying any non-medical therapy or treatment. While most therapies and treatments have no side effects or negative impacts on a senior’s mental health it is still highly recommended you speak to your doctor or health care professional before opting for alternative forms of treatment.
To learn more about our products or for more information on senior care services in Nova Scotia and the Atlantic Provinces, call us at +1 (902) 492-3346 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org