This week on the blog, we will be focusing on stage four of dementia and cognitive abilities. Although there are seven stages, the fourth stage is extremely important because this is where we really begin to see a decline in cognitive abilities. In some cases, this stage is where it can become difficult to care for those who are diagnosed with dementia. Typical symptoms of dementia during this stage include:
- Social withdrawal
- Emotional moodiness
- Lack of responsiveness
- Reduced cognitive abilities
- Difficulty with routine tasks
- Denial of symptoms
When cognitive abilities begin to decline, it becomes more imperative that those diagnosed are actively participating in challenging brain activities. According to Dementia Australia, “there is evidence that cognitive and functional decline in people with dementia may be delayed by continued participation in mentally stimulating activities.” By actively participating in stimulating activities, the brain will be exercised more often and could help to improve these symptoms. It might not be a guarantee that symptoms of dementia will improve but taking the time to try and carry out tasks that challenge the brain can only help those who are diagnosed.
Cognitive simulation can take place either in a group setting or individually with a family member, friend, or caregiver. There are various diverse activities that can exercise the brain in different ways. AgingSMART, a program that is designed to help with the brain capabilities of seniors with dementia, use a variety of activities, one of the main ones is using iPad games for all levels of memory impairments. According to Stacey Zaslow-Cook from AgingSMART, “there are statistics that show that if you do these word games that it helps maintain the level of where they are. I do see that it helps with depression and behaviors.” A few of the different exercises seniors can partake in include:
- Crossword puzzles
- Word games
- Engaging with friends and family
- Arts and crafts
- Singing along to music
Anyone caring for someone with stage four dementia, should try to engage in these activities. It is no doubt that dementia worsens over time. However, these are some preventative steps that can be taken to help get the brain functioning. By doing these daily activities, such as the ones above, the brain will be more routinely exercised to work properly.