Most people understand that dementia is characterized by a decline in mental abilities, but it’s important to remember that this primarily cognitive condition has physical side effects. If someone you love has dementia, keep an eye out for changes in the way your loved one walks, talks, and moves so that you can discuss it together and perhaps consult their doctor for advice. To better understand how dementia affects physical health, scroll down to learn about the potential side effects.
How Dementia Affects Physical Health
First, it’s important to note that how dementia affects physical health varies from person to person. Sometimes physical changes are noticed after a dementia diagnosis, while other times the physical symptoms are precursors of dementia. Possible physical side effects of dementia include all of the following:
- Loss of balance
- Lack of coordination
- Shuffling or dragging one’s feet when walking
- Difficulty standing after sitting in a chair
- Weak muscles
- Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep
- Trouble controlling one’s bladder or bowels
- Uncontrollable twitches
- Difficulty chewing food and swallowing
If you notice your loved one struggling with any of these side effects, encourage them to talk to their doctor (or accompany them to their next appointment). A doctor may be able to offer some practical advice or prescribe a medication that will help.
Sometimes these side effects will worsen as the dementia progresses. It’s important to keep an eye on any changes as they occur, as many people suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s lose the ability to properly take care of themselves. When this happens, it may be worthwhile to consider the benefits of a memory care facility, where your loved one will receive care and support from an experienced professional who truly understands dementia. This is a great way to ensure your loved one gets the care they need.
More Serious Health Problems
In the later stages of dementia, other health problems may arise. This is often due to a compromised immune system, which may lead to the development of an infection or an acute condition like pneumonia. In addition, falls and injuries are more likely to occur. Intensive, around-the-clock care is usually required at this late stage.
If you know someone who suffers from dementia, it’s important that both of you understand how dementia affects physical health. When possible, we highly recommend that you discuss these issues with your loved one early on in the progression of their dementia. We know it’s hard to discuss these weighty topics, but it’s extremely worthwhile, as it allows you both to explore the options available and gives your loved one a chance to decide how they would prefer to be cared for.
If you are looking for a memory care facility in Riverview, Florida, we invite you to tour our community, meet our friendly staff, and see our amenities firsthand. Overlooking the Alafia River on twelve beautiful acres, the Crossings at Riverview offers a relaxing atmosphere, and our talented team is committed to cultivating a welcoming and vibrant community. Our goal is to make our community feel like home for all of our residents. To schedule a tour, call 813-671-0222 or contact us online. We look forward to meeting you!