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Why is Palliative Care Important for Dementia Patients?

As per World Health Organization, around 55 million people globally have dementia, with over 60% belonging to low- and middle-income countries. This number is expected to further rise to 78 million and 139 million in 2030 and 2050 respectively.

Simply put, dementia is a progressive, chronic condition in the brain which ultimately leads to death and in the meanwhile arises a wide range of needs. The rate of progression is slow but surely fatal. Oftentimes, it is not in the scope of families to provide complete care to dementia patients which not only deteriorates the condition of the concerned but also cause mental and physical burn-out in caregivers. This is when opting for palliative care (pronounced “pal-lee-uh-tiv”) proves to be an exceptional choice for providing families with comfort-oriented support and resources to take care of their loved ones.

“Both the person with dementia and their loved ones can be benefitted through palliative care.”

Palliative Care and Dementia

"Palliative Care" is a specialized medical care for people living with serious illnesses, such as dementia, cancer, or heart failure. For patients with dementia, they become unable to recognize their hunger and thirst as well as forget the ability to be able to feed themselves. Seeing your loved one losing such abilities can be extremely heartbreaking. To add to that, feeding through the tube and other artificial feeding does not medically prove to be effective and can cause a plethora of other health-related issues.

Family members who have a personal attachment to dementia can become physically exhausted and panic when complexities arise. They may also be unaware of new severe symptoms due to their lack of experience in taking care of them. This is when Palliative Care proves to be an excellent resource as skilled professionals are the one assigned to take care of them. They have in-depth knowledge of dealing with dementia patients and can identify life-threatening conditions. Not only that, medical conditions and their intensity differ from patient to patient which requires modifications when planning for their care. Thus, to ensure its effectiveness, skilled professionals are the best options to move forward.

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