Dementia is a term that is used to describe a collection of symptoms including memory loss, problems with reasoning and communication skills, and a reduction in a person’s abilities and skills in carrying out activities of daily living. There are a number of different types of dementia the most common being Alzheimer’s Disease, Vascular Dementia, Frontol Temporal Dementia and Dementia with Lewy bodies. A diagnosis of mixed dementia is when the presentation shows the person to have elements of more than one type of dementia. Dementia is a progressive condition. The symptoms become gradually worse, the rate of which varies from person to person and each person will experience dementia in a different way.
Symptoms of Dementia
One of the first symptoms that people notice is memory loss. People notice their loved ones forgetting things that have happened earlier in the day. Getting confused about messages, getting lost whilst out and about, repeating themselves, and appearing to not be paying attention or following conversations. Some people experience problems with expressing themselves, getting confused about words through either using the wrong words for common things or getting words mixed up. One of the most difficult symptoms of dementia for sufferers and carers is a change to mood and behavior. Dementia can trigger mood swings and irritable or aggressive behavior. As dementia progresses further, antisocial and inappropriate behavior occurs due to a loss of inhibitions. Dementia sufferers can also lose interest in the outside world and forget to wash or change their clothes. Severe symptoms of dementia can lead to difficulty with swallowing and mobility, incontinence, sleep loss, hallucinations, weight loss and depression.
How Common is Dementia?
Dementia is a common condition. In American there are approximately 5.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease according to the Alzheimer’s Association (2012). This number is expected to double over the next 30 years. In England alone, there are currently 820,000 people in the UK (Alzheimer’s Research Trust 2010) living with dementia. Usually dementia occurs in people who are 65 or over. The older you get, the more likely you are to develop it. It is estimated that dementia occurs in:
- 1.4% of men and 1.5% of women aged between 65 and 69,
- 3.1% of men and 2.2% of women aged between 70 and 74,
- 5.6% of men and 7.1% of women aged between 75 and 79,
- 10.2 % of men and 14.1% of women aged between 80 and 84, and
- 19.6% of men and 27.5% of women aged 85 or over.
A Form of Support
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a way of understanding how we use language to program our brain. NLP helps us understand how we process the information that comes into our brains and how we create a simplified version of our experiences in our minds. NLP shows that the simplified version we may accept is not necessarily an accurate reflection of the actual experience, and is largely determined by what we focus on.
The purpose of working with people who have dementia, is to improve the functions that the disability affects to the highest possible level. Once achieved, NLP is used to shift the focus and strengthen every other function and resource that the person is using to compensate for the areas that no longer work to their full capacity. Through using the techniques of NLP, we can improve the person’s quality of life and provide them with more independence by removing any possible frustrations she or he is experiencing.
Olive Hickmott is a health coach, teaching people with chronic health issues, simple skills that will empower them to take more control of their challenges. In this interview Olive Hickmott will discuss her experience of helping carers (professional or family members) to better understand Dementia and Alzheimer’s from a behavioural point of view. These insights are designed to give carers a different perspective, enabling them to improve the quality of everyone’s experience. Olive will also offer a couple of simple processes to help carers maintain their own health, that is so vital, in such challenging circumstances.
Tune in to this segment of The NLP View Radio Show, as host, Donna Blinston talks to author, Olive Hickmott about how she uses NLP to help people who suffer from Dementia on November the 17th, 2012 at 7pm EDT/4pmPST! Stay Tuned!