Dr Seng explained that there are many different types of dementia and Alzheimer’s is the most common type, accounting for 60% of all dementia cases. We cannot prevent the onset of dementia, but he said there are better ways to manage the risk factors. For example, one can maintain good blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol, to eat healthily, exercise regularly and engage in mental stimulating activities like playing mahjong.
In the early stage of the disease, Dr Seng said patients can still function independently and carry on with their day-to-day activities. However, they may already require assistance in more complex activities such as handling finances.
He explained that in the middle stage of the disease, a greater level of care and attention has must be given to these patients as they gradually became more dependent on others for help. As for the final and most severe stage of the disease, he cautioned that patients can become more reliant on others for basic activities such as dressing, bathing, toileting and eating.
Dr Seng shared that early diagnosis enables patients and caregivers to have a better understanding of their condition and receive anticipatory guidance for emerging symptoms. Dr Seng also suggested allowing Alzheimer’s patients to engage in activities such as exercising, drawing, colouring, listening to music and going for walks to help them sleep better at night.