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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Dementia is a condition that causes loss of memory, thought control, and judgment. Alzheimer disease is the most common cause of dementia. Other common causes are loss of blood flow or nerve damage in the brain, and long-term alcohol or drug use. Dementia cannot be cured or prevented, but treatment may slow or reduce your symptoms.
Return to the emergency department if
you or someone close to you notices:
- You have signs of delirium, such as extreme confusion, and seeing or hearing things that are not there.
- You become angry or violent, and cannot be calmed down.
- You faint and cannot be woken.
Contact your healthcare provider if
you or someone close to you notices:
- You have a fever.
- You have increased confusion, behavior, or mood changes.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You may need any of the following:
- Antianxiety medicine may be used to help reduce anxiety and keep you calm.
- Antipsychotics may be used to help control any anger or violence.
- Antidepressants may be used to help improve your mood and reduce your symptoms of depression.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits. Ask someone to go in with you if you have trouble understanding or remembering what your healthcare provider tells you. The person can take notes for you during the visit and go over the notes with you later.
Manage your dementia:
You may begin to need an in-home aide to help you remember your daily tasks. Ask your healthcare provider for a list of organizations that can help. It is best to arrange for help while you are thinking clearly. The following may also help you manage your dementia:
- Keep your mind and body active. Do activities that you love, such as art, gardening, or listening to music. Call or visit people often. This will keep your social skills sharp, and may help reduce depression.
- Take all of your medicines as directed. This will help control medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
- Write daily schedules and routines. Record doctor appointments, times to take your medicines, meal times, or any other things to remember. Write down reminders to use the bathroom if you have trouble remembering. You may to ask someone to write things down for you.
- Place clocks and calendars where you can see them. This will help you remember appointments and tasks.
- Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause lung damage. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
- Eat healthy foods. Examples are fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy, beans, lean meats, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.