We’re still on features of Dementia.
Yesterday, we discussed memory. Today we’ll look at other mental functions.
One of the common features is the inability to handle finances. Most persons with Dementia loose their money because of the memory loss. They make purchases and forget the balance. They can collect money from the bank and forget it on the counter. Some of my patients consistently lost their pension for months or years.
In addition, a time comes when they are unable to differentiate between the Currency notes.
For example, a sachet of water is 10 Naira in Nigeria. Anybody who wants to buy one sachet should pay with a 10, 20 or 50 Naira. Using a 1000 Naira note is inappropriate. Such a person does not know the purchasing power of that note. In essence, the person will most likely not ask for his balance of 990 Naira.
Hence, he looses the money if the person is not honest.
I have a patient, an entrepreneur who lost about 5million Naira in a week. His staff collected ridiculous sums for purchase of cheap items like tissue paper, plastic cans ETC. He just issued cheques without realizing he was been duped.
Another problem is in speech. They may have difficulty in naming familiar everyday objects like pen, comb, toothbrush, mirror, plates ETC. You may find them using many words to describe such an object. In some cases, they act the function of the object. In some cases, they simply stop while speaking because they are looking for the word. Some may veer off the conversation and are not able to get back to the original topic.
Location of familiar places is also a major issue. One of my patients went to a nearby market by 9Am. She came back at 5Pm exhausted having walked round for 8 hours unable to locate the market and unable to come home. Painfully, some of them may actually get missing and never find their way back home.
The person with Dementia also has difficulty with Judgment. They may leave a tap running or leave food burning. Such simple everyday decisions become overwhelming.
Note that all these features become WORSE in a NEW environment. Hence taking your mother or father who has some degree of Dementia out his or her usual home to his son or daughter’s house in the city worsens the condition.
This is because there is so much NEW information ( bedroom, bathroom, fridge, water, door, cooker, kitchen ETC) in this person who already has difficulties in Registration of new information. Hence it may take her months to locate the bathroom. She may go into the kitchen to take a bath or ease herself. This is the reason some of them are thought to be mad. Painfully some of them subjected to elder abuse, exorcism and what have you.
These are some of the main features of Dementia. Please if your father or mother has any of these, he or she needs to see a Doctor.
Thanks for reading