Senior citizens face various issues in their day-to-day life. With the growing age, a weak body and weak cognition make almost every task difficult for them to perform. Getting older is not just about wrinkles and greying hair. Physical illness is not just the issue of the elderly, but also mental illness. Depression and dementia are the most common psychological diseases.
Dementia is a syndrome that deteriorates the cognition and ability to perform everyday tasks of an individual. Dementia is not itself a disease, but a collective term used to describe symptoms of impairment in thinking, memory, and communication.
Although dementia mostly affects older people it is not a normal part of aging. Possible symptoms of dementia are-
- Recent memory loss- A person asking the same question might repeatedly be a sign.
- Forgetfulness- The person may be forgetting where he/she kept his/her everyday items.
- Mood swings- Sudden or unexplained change in mood.
- Bewilderment- Getting lost or confused in familiar places.
- A problem in speech- difficulty with familiar language, forgetting words, or using wrong words in place of some other word.
- Loss in interest- Showing less or no interest in doing something that they earlier enjoyed or going somewhere.
With these symptoms, dementia is acting as a major reason for the abuse of the elderly. The elderly suffering from dementia is easily negligible for some people as the sufferer is not capable of saying anything or raising any questions to them. The old aged people with dementia are often abandoned o the streets by their own families and children so that they don’t have to give any special care to them and also they know that the patient is not in a condition to report these incidents.
Abandonment is not the only abuse an elderly with dementia has to face. There are more abuses that they have to face like:
- Negligence- The elderly with dementia suffers from forgetfulness and may not remember to take meals, bath or medicine on time and the caregiver may keep neglecting the patient there is no to rebuke
- Sexual abuse- as a sufferer of dementia and a weak body the elderly is easy prey for the abusers and are hence, forced into sexual acts without their consent.
- Financial abuse- old aged people are often tricked into handing over all their property to their family, by their family members, either by forcing or by forging the signature of the property holder.
People often use the words ‘Dementia’ and ‘Alzheimer’ interchangeably, but the two diseases are different. Alzheimer is itself a disease, whereas dementia is a collective term.
Aging affects differently on different people but it has a common way of handling it- love and care. The person who nurtured us yesterday needs some care and affection today. And love is deserved by every being and so by the elderly. Elderly suffering from dementia is not an opportunity for abandoning and abusing them, rather a human being to be taken care of.