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Dementia, Ambulatory Care

Dementia

is a condition that causes loss of memory, thought control, and judgment. Dementia may develop quickly over a few months after a head injury or stroke. It may develop slowly over many years if you have Alzheimer disease. Dementia cannot be cured or prevented, but treatment may slow or reduce your symptoms.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Loss of short-term memory, followed by loss of long-term memory
  • Trouble remembering to go to the bathroom, to urinate, or have a bowel movement
  • Anger or violent behavior
  • Depression, anxiety, or hallucinations

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Signs of delirium, such as extreme confusion, and seeing or hearing things that are not there
  • Anger or violence that cannot be calmed down
  • Fainting and you cannot be woken

Treatment for dementia

may include medicines to slow memory loss. You may also need medicines to help control anger, decrease anxiety, or improve your mood. Take your medicines as directed.

Manage 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.
  • Write daily schedules and routines. Record medical 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 need 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. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking may slow blood flow in your brain, and make your symptoms worse. Ask your caregiver for information if you need help quitting.
  • Eat healthy foods. Examples are fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.
  • Ask your healthcare provider for a list of organizations that can help. You may begin to need an in-home aide to help you remember your daily tasks. Arrange for help while you are thinking clearly.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Ask someone to go with you to help you remember what your healthcare provider tells you. The person can take notes for you during the visit and go over the notes with you later. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.

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