ARE YOU DEMENTED?
OR DON’T YOU KNOW IT AND OTHERS WON’T TELL YOU?
This is not a funny issue, because it can sneak up on you, others won’t exactly tell you, and before you recognize it yourself and begin to come to terms with it, there could be trouble.
Within the last year I was confronted with different levels of dementia demonstrated by a brother-in-law (6 years younger than I) and two college classmates at different stages of this scourge. None of the three seemed to recognize their situation and continued chattering in their own ways undisturbed. It was alarming!
So what are the warning signs? I’ll list them for you with no further definition.
DECLINING MOTOR FUNCTION
So, where are you on this road map to misery? You can find a simple, but helpful test for yourself by visiting the web and take the “Rate My Memory Test” created by Dr. Gary Small, a UCLA psychiatrist and head of the UCLA Longevity Center. I passed the test with only minimal symptoms of dementia, and if you take the test with low marks, don’t blame me.
But what about treatment? If we have a touch of dementia and fear an advancing case, are we stuck in a declining channel that takes us into a new world far away from what we have been accustomed to these long years, or will our care givers help find at least some partial cure? I guess finding the help depends upon where you live and how available some of the known treatment is.
One research facility making some strides is the Quietmind Foundation in Pennsylvania. Marvin Berman, PhD and Jack Lebeau, Md have been using infrared therapy to reach certain brain cells that create an onslaught toward dementia. Our old friend cannabis is becoming more popular also as a treatment. The chemical THC found in marijuana can slow the growth of dementia. You can read much about all these possibilities by going to the web and searching out the various names or treatments I have mentioned.
Above, I asked you not to blame me because of your difficulties. Actually, don’t try to blame anyone. There is no one in your line of relatives that you should be able to blame for your demented condition. According to Ian Swart-Hamilton, PhD, writing in “The Gift of Aging”, no one is predestined to develop dementia because a relative has it. But the reality is that one in four individuals in their 9o’s will develop a certain level of dementia. So if you are 88 and reading this and show only moderate signs, wait another two years until the law of averages is closer at hand. You have been warned!
Primary care medical providers aren’t paid to treat or cure dementia, but they are paid to help direct you to an aid station. You or your care giver must insist for this direction, but you must enter into this search individually and enthusiastically until you find the one or more help buttons where either proven, or investigative treatment, is available. Dementia is not a killer, so be enthusiastic in your search to assure you a more solid mental existence as you pass from one year to the next.