Non-pharmacological Cognitive Stimulation Therapies in Alzheimer’s Dementia and Memory Disorders
As we age, our bodies undergo biological decline, both somatically and mentally. From a psychological perspective, there is a progressive alteration of cognitive functions, with a decline in attention and memory performance, as well as a decrease in the efficiency of intellectual processes.
Normal aging makes us less mentally flexible, impacting our day-to-day functionality. However, when the decline is severe enough to affect daily activities, social and family relationships, it may be a sign of a disease causing dementia.
Caring for a person with dementia can be a long, consuming, stressful, and emotionally intense journey. But you are not alone. In Romania, there are approximately 400,000 people taking care of individuals with dementia (official statistics from the Ministry of Health indicate a number of around 300,000 dementia patients), and millions of people worldwide. Since currently there is no cure for this condition, the care provided can make a difference in improving the quality of life for your loved one.
As the cognitive, physical, and functional abilities of your loved one diminish over the course of years, it is easy to become overwhelmed and neglect your own health and well-being.
We, the specialists at Med Anima, restore hope, offer assistance, and aid in healing. In this consuming journey, we stand by your side. And because it may not be easy for you to come to our clinic, we have prepared a Guide for Family Members under the coordination of Dr. Iuliana
Fecioru, a board-certified psychiatrist.
What is dementia?
Dementia refers to a group of neurodegenerative conditionscharacterized by progressive and irreversible impairment of cognitive functions, leading to a global decline compared to the individual’s previous level of functioning and progressing towards disability and multiple medical complications that precipitate death. The main cognitive functions commonly affected d in dementia are memory, attention, language, thinking, and judgment, which can be accompanied by changes in personality, affective disorders, and behavioral disorders.
Dementia is a common condition, with the incidence of degenerative dementias increasing with age, affecting approximately 10% of the population over the age of 65.
Can Alzheimer’s dementia be prevented?
Just as there is no cure, there is no magic wand to prevent Alzheimer’s diseas However, there is compelling evidence that certain actions can delay the onset and even slow down the progression of the disease.
It is evident that lifestyle plays an important role in the development of many diseases. What we eat, where we live, what we do in our free time – all of these factors are now known to significantly influence the likelihood of developing cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and some of the most feared diseases. The same applies to the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Our genetics may play a role in the development of cognitive disorders, but our lifestyle and other environmental factors that we can control are also potential contributors.
What are the causes of dementia?
Dementia involves the deterioration of nerve cells in the brain, which impairs their ability to communicate with each other. The brain has several distinct regions, each responsible for different functions (such as memory, judgment, behavior). The death of brain cells can lead to cognitive deficits characteristic of dementia.
Some causes of dementia are treatable, and in these cases, dementia is partially or completely reversible. These causes include:
- Head injuries
- Brain tumors
- Normal pressure hydrocephalus
- Brain hemorrhages
- Brain infections (meningitis, encephalitis, tuberculosis, parasitic infections, HIV/AIDS, syphilis)
- Endocrine disorders (hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome)
- Metabolic disorders (liver, pancreatic, or kidney diseases that disrupt the chemical balance in the blood: chronic kidney failure, dialysis dementia, liver failure, chronic hypoglycemia)
- Hypoxia (insufficient oxygen supply to the brain)
- Vitamin deficiencies (from the B group)
- Toxic substances (alcohol, carbon monoxide, lead, mercury, manganese, pesticides, trihexyphenidyl, barbiturates, tricyclic antidepressants, lithium, digitalis, cocaine, etc.)
Cognitive Decline / Dementia
As we age, neurodegenerative diseases associated with learning and memory impairments may occur, eventually leading to dementia. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that affects many, if not all, brain functions.
Therefore, it is crucial to find strategies to restore learning abilities and access long-term memories in these situations. Researchers have concluded that maintaining psycho cognitive potential, avoiding cognitive decline, and preventing dementia depend on our own lifestyle.
In the Einstein Aging Study published in “The New England Journal of Medicine,” participants engaged in cognitive stimulation activities showed a 63% lower risk of dementia compared to those with the lowest frequency of cognitive activities. Individuals who engaged in puzzle-based activities four days a week had a 47% lower risk of dementia compared to those who did puzzles only once a week. Based on the findings of studies in the field, alternative methods of brain stimulation and maintaining the quality of life in old age have been developed.
VIRTUAL REALITY THERAPY
With the help of virtual reality, individuals with dementia can experience different virtual environments that inspire the access to various memories and encourage social interactions and positive emotions, thereby enhancing well-being.
COMPUTERIZED COGNITIVE STIMULATION
By engaging in computer-assisted cognitive stimulation tasks, brain processes are activated, and important functions are improved or fully restored, depending on the case. This helps enhance the quality of everyday life.
COGNITIVE STIMULATION ACTIVITIES AND REMINISCENCE THERAPY
We invite you to participate in cognitive stimulation groups at Med Anima. These groups, consisting of a maximum of 10 people, are led by experienced clinical psychologists in this field.
Str. Străpungere Silvestru nr. 60, bl. CL11, sc. B, ground floor, Iași, county: Iași
com. Belcești, B entrance, Bl. 4, county: Iași
Str. Simion Bărnuțiu nr. 34, Timișoara, county: Timiș
TRANSCRANIAL MAGNETIC STIMULATION THERAPY
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Psihiatrie pediatrică - Online
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Psychotherapy - Online
DNA Mind Genetic Test
GENETIC TESTING FOR OPTIMIZING THE TREATMENT OF MENTAL ILLNESSES
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ALZHEIMER Dementia – Alternative Therapies
Memory disorders – Diagnosis and treatment
Sleep monitoring with the Act Trust Actigraphy device
Clinical psychology and psychodiagnosis
Counseling and psychotherapy