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dementiaDementia is the gradual deterioration in cognitive function of the brain or the brains ability to process thought. Dementia is not a one disease (the term used to describe a group of symptoms which are caused by the changes in the ability of the brain to think and/or process thoughts).

Forgetfulness and memory loss

Someone in the early stages of dementia becomes forgetful. They will start to forget things like where they left their car keys, or where they last put their cell phone, and they may even forget the way back home from a store. In the later stages of dementia, they will start forgetting names, places, people they knew, things that have happened to them, events that they attended, and even worse than that, they could forget who they are.

It will be increasingly difficult for someone who has these symptoms to be able to carry out everyday tasks as the dementia progresses. They will start to forget how to do everyday tasks such as keeping up with their hygiene for example going to the bathroom, or forgetting to take a shower, they could forget to put on underwear and even forget to brush their teeth. When these things start to happen, people with dementia are more prone to diseases. They will also need an extra carer or nurse to look after them because they could be in danger of getting themselves hurt.

Bad breath

Someone with dementia forgets to take care of their oral hygiene, like brushing their teeth, flossing etc. Because of poor oral care and the bad breath bacteria that are accumulating in the mouth it could lead to a variety of oral diseases, bad breath being the least of these.

To prevent this from happening the teeth and mouth have to be cleaned. A dentist will be helpful in providing guidance and support on how to assist in cleaning the teeth of the person suffering from dementia. Alternatively, family could choose to do it themselves. The easiest way in which to do this is to sit the person down on a dining style chair, and the care person standing behind. The carer will support the person against their body, and cradling their head with one arm. The carer can now brush the person’s teeth with a damp toothbrush and a little toothpaste.

Always treat the elderly with the dignity they deserve. Perhaps they are forgetful and perhaps they get cranky from time to time but always be gentle, understanding and listen. They loved you or someone just like you their whole lives and can’t bear the thought of not seeing you.