Healthbeat 4: Caring for dementia patients - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Healthbeat 4: Caring for dementia patients

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -

"The better we can use our brain, the better we can help their brain," said Teepa Snow, Alzheimer's and dementia expert.     

That's the mission of dementia and Alzheimer's care expert Teepa Snow.

She believes the burden of dementia can be lessened if we know and understand the symptoms.

Frustration and anger can occur in patients when communication with caregivers isn't understood.

In her workshops, Snow illustrates three patterns caregivers should look for to understand the reality of the person and match it.

The first: "I think everything is fine, you're the one noticing change."

"You can't see my point of view and I can't see you're point of view and we start fighting with each other about everything; about the car keys about the money, about the doctor," said Snow. 

The second pattern: "I do know something is wrong. I'm anxious, can't remember things and wear you out." And the third: "I realize I'm having problems but don't want anyone else to know." 

"So I hide everything and start isolating myself," said Snow. 

Tammy Wilson with Sunrise Retirement Community is the manager of the dementia and Alzheimer's neighborhood at Sunrise.

She says her staff sees a wide range of dementia but the common thread across the board -- keeping residents' lives as simple and normal as possible. 

"It's hard when someone has to do things of you and we just want to keep them able from doing everything they possible can up until a point that they can't do that anymore," said Tammy Wilson, Manager at Sunrise Retirement Community. 

Snow says researchers are finding younger and younger people suffering from dementia. 

"It's people who have had head injuries, it's people who have had severe depression or anxiety, it's people who have diabetes people who are at risk," said Snow, "The problem is there is such stigma with the disease, people don't go and look at the possibilities. 

Snow believes re-framing the stigma around dementia is the first step in fighting the disease. 

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