How Can Dementia Affect Physical Health?

Dementia and Physical Health

Most people do not realize the physical impact that dementia has on the human body. As any experienced dementia caregiver can tell you, the more your loved one’s dementia progresses, the more their physical health will decline. Familiarizing yourself with what to expect can help you prepare for the future. 

Here are 5 ways dementia can affect physical health:

1. Jerky movements. It is common for individuals in the later stages of dementia to move in a jerky manner. This is particularly true with patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Doctors are unsure why this happens. 

2. Loss of appetite. Dementia patients often become quite picky about the types of food they eat. It is not uncommon for a person with advanced dementia to forget how to use utensils or how to chew or swallow. 

3. Difficulty swallowing. The act of swallowing is surprisingly complicated, and it is not unheard for a person with dementia to forget how to swallow. This puts patients at a risk for dehydration. If a patient with dementia becomes dehydrated, it will only worsen their other physical symptoms, like the jerky movements. 

4. Difficulties using the bathroom. Unfortunately, one of the more debilitating physical effects of dementia is losing control of one’s bowels. Incontinence is one of the primary indicators that this has happened. For example, aides who work in dementia home care will often encourage their charges to go to the bathroom every 1-2 hours. 

5. Lack of sleep. In the later stages of dementia, patients often become more active at night and have severe difficulties sleeping. This is referred to as “sundowning.” 

Not only is dementia devastating for the person who has it, but it is also hard on the sufferer’s loved ones. When you need a helping hand caring for a loved one with dementia, place your trust in Balanced Home Care. Our professional and compassionate caregivers are ready to assist your loved one in every way possible. Contact us today to request a complementary assessment. 

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