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Are you curious about the realities of dementia and how they differ from common misconceptions?

Are you curious about the realities of dementia and how they differ from common misconceptions?

In this episode, we've tackled myths and provided actionable solutions for dementia care. It's a journey that requires understanding, compassion, and a proactive approach.

Let's embrace these truths for a more informed and effective response to dementia.

The Truth About Dementia: Debunking Myths and Providing Solutions

0:00:00 Introduction

0:01:19 Myth 1: Dementia is a normal part of aging

0:03:38 Myth 2: Dementia symptoms are only related to memory loss

0:06:37 Myth 3: There is nothing you can do to prevent dementia

0:08:57 Solution 1: Early diagnosis and management of symptoms

0:11:25 Solution 2: Promoting brain health through lifestyle

0:12:23 Lifestyle changes to promote brain health

0:14:50 Creating a positive support community for caregivers

Myth 1: Dementia is a Normal Part of Aging

Contrary to popular belief, dementia is not a normal aspect of aging. It's a misconception that leads to delayed diagnoses and missed opportunities for early intervention. Understanding this can change our approach to dementia care.

Myth 2: Dementia is Just About Memory Loss

Dementia encompasses more than memory challenges. It affects various cognitive abilities, including problem-solving and organizational skills. Recognizing this broad impact is crucial for providing comprehensive care.

Myth 3: Dementia is Unpreventable

This myth overlooks the potential for preventive measures. While some dementia types are hereditary, lifestyle factors play a significant role in others. Acknowledging this opens doors to proactive brain health maintenance.

Solutions for Better Dementia Care

Early Diagnosis and Management: Timely diagnosis is key. It allows for early interventions that can significantly improve quality of life.

Promoting Brain Health Through Lifestyle: Adopting a healthy lifestyle can influence brain health and potentially delay or prevent certain types of dementia.

Creating a Positive Support Community: Building a supportive environment is essential for caregivers. It helps in managing the challenges of dementia care and prevents caregiver burnout.

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Transcript

The Truth About Dementia: Debunking three myths related to dementia

[0:01] In today's episode, we are going to talk about three myths.

We're going to debunk three myths related to dementia, and then we are going to give you three solutions that you can do after you find out what these three myths are.

So tune in, buckle up, and listen to today's episode.

[0:25] Hey there, success seeker. Welcome to Dementia Caregiving for Families.

Do you feel overwhelmed with the daily struggle of dementia caregiving, looking for an easier path?

You're in the right place. On this podcast, we teach you the skills to simplify caregiving.

We unravel the mystery of dementia and guide you through the often difficult behaviors.

I'm Lizette, your host and fellow family caregiver. caregiver.

As an occupational therapist, I bring my professional and personal experience to this community.

Here we speak the truth, but without the verbal vomit.

I know you will find value in today's program, so buckle up while this flight takes off.

Myth 1: Dementia is a normal part of aging

[1:19] Off. Well, welcome back to Dementia Caregiving for Families.

Today is episode 69, and we are talking about the truth about dementia.

We're going to debunk three myths and provide three solutions.

So let's get to it today.

What is the first myth? Well, let's talk about debunking myths, right? What is the first myth?

English, Lizette, English. The first myth is that dementia is a normal part of aging.

[2:00] I feel so strongly about this because it is a big fat lie that changes in your memory, not being forgetful, but in your memory is not a normal part of aging.

Normal parts of aging include things like being a little slower to process information, information, not being able to recall something immediately, but when you stop and think about it, you're able to track back and go into, you know, remember where you put your keys. That is normal.

[2:39] Dementia is not a normal part of aging.

And one of my biggest frustrations as a healthcare provider over the years is that people will go to the doctor and tell the doctor they're having having difficulty with their thinking, and the doctor will tell them it's a normal part of aging.

So if you take one thing from today's program, if you or a loved one, a family member, a spouse, a husband, a child, a parent, notice true short-term memory deficits and true changes in somebody's thinking processes.

It is not normal. It does not happen, or else we wouldn't have a hundred-year-old people who have had no difficulty with their thinking.

Everybody, if it was a normal part of aging, everybody would get dementia. Not everybody does.

So dementia is not a normal part of aging.

Myth 2: Dementia symptoms are only related to memory loss

[3:38] The second myth that we're going to talk about today is that dementia symptoms are only related to memory loss.

This could not be further from the truth. right? And it is one of my biggest strengths.

I got a lot of frustrations, guys. I get on my soapbox, right?

Dementia symptoms are not only related to memory.

And where I frequently see people saying this, and if you are saying something like this, I really want to challenge you today to consider what the implications of what you're saying is.

[4:18] I'll have people say to me, oh, my mom or my dad, they only have short, you know, their short-term memory is terrible, but they cannot use their cell phone or they cannot figure out how to use the television's remote control, right?

Those are typically the two places where people start to actually see some of the bigger impact of the symptoms of dementia because it's not only related to your short-term memory, right?

So people think mom or dad cannot remember how to to use their cell phone, or they cannot remember how to use the TV remote.

But that's not what's happening, guys. As our thinking processes change, we have what we call our higher level thinking skills, which are things like planning ahead and organizing and being able to problem solve and be able to anticipate consequences.

Those are all the higher level thinking skills.

And so when you start to see somebody you love having trouble with their cell phone and you relate that or a person relates that to the fact that they cannot remember how to use their cell phone, it's not that they're not able to remember.

[5:42] Remember, right? They have memory loss, but it's not their memory loss that's causing the problem.

It's the fact that they cannot problem solve anymore, that they cannot anticipate, that they cannot figure out how to actually do that.

They cannot organize their thoughts anymore.

They are two totally separate things.

And so the myth that I wanted to debunk here is that that symptoms of dementia are only related to memory loss.

They're not. It's more than that.

But at the beginning, it seems to be mom is not remembering.

And so that's the thing that we notice as a family caregiver, that mom's not remembering a conversation we just had five minutes ago.

But it's more than that. It's related to the higher level thinking skills as that starts to change over time.

Myth 3: There is nothing you can do to prevent dementia

[6:37] So that's the second myth that we talked about.

The third one is another big one for me, and that is the myth that there is absolutely nothing that you can do to prevent dementia and nothing is further from the truth.

There are lots of research studies coming out now that show that there is so much related to our cognitive abilities just like just like diabetes right type 2 diabetes can be prevented if you stop eating all the junk food and the you know the carbohydrates and the chocolates and the the sweets and those kinds of things.

Diabetes type 2 can be prevented, so can certain types of dementia.

Now, certain types of dementia are certainly hereditary, and I'm not disputing the fact that there is a small subset of people who will over time develop dementia because of a a hereditary component.

So think of a person who has type 1 diabetes, right? They didn't do anything wrong. They were born with it. They have type 1 diabetes.

There are certain types of dementia, certain people who will develop it because they carry a hereditary type of dementia.

[8:01] But for the most of the time, most people's types of dementia are actually related to our lifestyle or our environment or other things.

And so there are things that we can do to maintain our health, to be able to protect our own brain.

And we'll talk about that in one of the solutions that we're going to discuss here in a couple of minutes.

So the three myths are, Dementia is a normal part of aging. Dementia symptoms are only related to memory loss.

And number three, there's nothing that you can do to prevent dementia.

I want you to take those three things and throw them out the window and never talk about those things again because they are not true.

[8:52] So let's talk about some solutions. Here are three solutions.

Solution 1: Early diagnosis and management of symptoms

[8:57] The first one we're we're going to talk about is early diagnosis and management of symptoms.

Too frequently, and that goes together with the myth of dementia is a normal part of aging.

It is not. So when we delay, time is brain, and we have lost the opportunity to do the things that we can at at the beginning of the process, to be able to prevent significant decline over time.

So the sooner you notice somebody you love is truly having difficulty with their thinking, and it's more, like I said, than just short-term memory deficits, but sometimes that's the first thing that we see.

[9:45] Get them diagnosed so that you can get an earlier diagnosis and manage it.

You may have a big old fight with the healthcare system, and I am so sorry for that, because guess what?

I know all of this stuff. It took me three years to get my dad diagnosed.

Three years, which is way too long, and our healthcare system is not doing a good job of helping people get an early diagnosis.

So if you do have a family physician or somebody that says to you, this is normal part of aging, ignore it.

You have to squeak and squawk and you have to try to get help from somewhere because earlier diagnosis means that we can do things at the beginning to try to prevent the significant decline over time.

[10:32] So that's the first solution, early diagnosis and management of the process.

Do not be an ostrich. Family members, if you're noticing somebody in your life life with cognitive impairment, do not be an ostrich, stick your head in the sand and hope it goes away. It won't, okay?

If you are a person who is noticing their own cognitive changes, same thing.

Do not be an ostrich, stick your head in the sand and hope it goes away, right? It will not.

There are reversible things that are possible.

[11:05] Potential contributors, stress, lack of sleep, diet, those kinds of things.

So stop and really go and figure out what's going on with your brain.

Our brain is like a Tesla or like a computer, and we want to keep it in top shape and top functioning abilities.

Solution 2: Promoting brain health through lifestyle

[11:26] So early diagnosis and management. The second solution that we're going to talk about is we're going to talk about being able to promote brain health through lifestyle.

Now, what do you mean by that, Lizette? Well, one of the points we talked about earlier is that there's nothing you can do to prevent dementia, right?

Well, that is so much further from the truth.

There are lots of studies. Dale Bredesen, who wrote the book, The End of Alzheimer's, and he is a neurologist, so not a woo-woo, right?

He's truly a physician.

There are lots of physicians out there who are researching the contributing factors to cognitive loss.

Dale Bredesen has identified up to 36 different factors that can contribute.

Diet, exercise, sleep, stress, toxicity.

Lifestyle changes to promote brain health

[12:23] Environment, environment biochemistry all of these different things can actually contribute so when we actually look at our lifestyles and we work on promoting our brain health through changing our lifestyles we can do a lot to prevent our own cognitive loss so that's the second solution for today the third solution we are going to talk about is something that is near and dear to my heart And the reason it is near and dear to my heart is, as I've been doing this podcast, I've, I've been starting to realize that a lot of people don't even realize that they are a caregiver.

[13:07] They do not realize that they are helping take care of someone else.

I'll use this as an example.

I was getting ready to launch my podcast a couple of months ago now, or last month, actually a little over a month ago.

I launched it in National Family Caregiving Month, and this episode should be coming out on December the 28th, which happens to be my lovely mama's birthday.

So shout out to mom, happy birthday.

But back to what I was saying is I was at church promoting, asking people to help me promote my podcast launch.

And I ran into a couple of people in church who told me my dad has Alzheimer's.

And my first question to them was, how's your mom? And they both said to me, oh, my mom's fine.

And I'm like thinking to myself, no, your mom is not fine.

But you guys don't even necessarily recognize, you know, there is a diagnosis, you have the diagnosis, you understand the diagnosis, but you don't recognize that both your mom and you have now turned into caregivers, because it hasn't impacted your daily life yet.

And so what's happening is people do not self-identify as being a caregiver yet because when people are typically diagnosed.

[14:34] The family members, you, my audience, are still functioning pretty well.

You're still able to maybe go to work or do the errands or help your parent or your spouse, whatever it might be.

Creating a positive support community for caregivers

[14:50] But because you're coping, you're not putting the third solution in place, which is creating a positive environment and community and support immediately around you.

You are trying to do it by yourself.

And too many people, when they do that, end up burning out.

These are the people that I get two or three or four years later that are at their wit's end, that they have burnt out or they're so stressed and frustrated that they've ruined their own health in the process.

Because early on in the process, they didn't actually create a positive community of supportive people around them.

How is that related to what I can help you with?

I have two practical solutions that you can use, that you can explore, or that you can look at immediately. Okay.

I do have a free Facebook group that you can join. It is called Dementia Caregiving for Families.

[16:02] And then if you are ready to work a little bit more deeper with me related to how to actually implement this, these strategies, these ideas, the support, this community around you and your family, I do too.

You can work with me one-on-one and you can apply to do that, or you can work with me in a group setting where we actually develop an entire plan for you, an entire community of support where we really.


[16:37] Truly explore your unique situation, where we look at everything that's going on in your life and how we can manage it and how we can improve it.

So that at the end of your dementia caregiving journey, you come through it with your own relationships intact, with your own health and your own brain health intact, with your own ability to still maintain all of the quality relationships and functions that we have as a human being after you are done with your caregiving journey.

So if I've resonated with you today, if this is something that you're interested in exploring, you can schedule a call with me.

I'd be happy to hop on a 20-minute call and see if it's a good fit for you and your own specific situation. situation.

But you can join my Facebook group if you're not quite ready for investing in this process.

[17:39] But I beg you, find support somewhere. Be selective, my dear friends, about where you get your support because not all Facebook groups are created even because some of them are just all doom and gloom and there's nothing you can do.

And I don't subscribe to that. I'm looking to bring people into my ecosystem who are passionate about being proactive and investing the time and the.

[18:10] Effort to actually work on the skills that they need to in order to be able to come through a diagnosis of dementia with grace, joy, hope, and success.

Because it does not have to be all terrible and doom and gloom.

There are things that we can do.

Guys, there are things that we can do. And that's what I do every single day.

That's what gets me up in the morning.

That's what makes makes me passionate about what I do.

So the three myths are dementia is a normal part of aging, dementia is symptoms are only related to memory loss, dementia is nothing that you can do to prevent it.

Those are the myths. Those are flat out lies.

It is not true. Let's debunk them right And then three solutions.

[19:05] Early diagnosis and management of this process, promoting a brain healthy lifestyle.

And then the third thing is creating a positive, not just any community, a positive, uplifting, edifying community and support around you immediately after a diagnosis.

Diagnosis don't wait reach out you have two ways that you can reach me you can join my free facebook group or you can connect with me and see if you're appropriate for my one-on-one services or for my group coaching and i will see you in the next episode which will be new year's day so happy new year.

[19:52] Well, thank you for listening to today's episode.

I hope you learned something that you didn't know before.

I have provided you three myths and three solutions.

If you are ready to explore working with me a little bit more in depth, then I invite you to either join my free Facebook community with the link in the show notes below, or reach out and schedule a call to talk to me about whether my group program or my one-on-one services are what you and your particular family need.

And as I love to be able to say, may the Lord bless you and keep you.

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About the author

“Think Different” Dementia’s owner, Lizette Cloete, OTR/L graduated as an Occupational Therapist from the University of Pretoria in South Africa in 1992. Lizette has almost 30 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist in a variety of settings, the latest being in the home health environment. She enjoys teaching on the topic of dementia, most recently presenting at a national conference on the topic “Dementia Made Simple”.

Disclaimer: These blogs, videos and any work done by Lizette Cloete OT, as a Member of Think Different Dementia, LLC, is given only as educational content and consulting work. This does not create an Occupational Therapist-Patient Relationship. The educational content and consulting work performed should not be considered medical treatment as an Occupational Therapist. The consulting work does not take the place of medical work normally performed by a licensed Occupational Therapist. Please consult a licensed Occupational Therapist for medical advice.

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