Letter: Early diagnosis may help patients with dementia symptoms

To the Editor:

On Tuesday, Aug. 21, in conjunction with the Darien Library, At Home In Darien presented a conversation with Mary Hogan, author of the novel Left: A Love Story. Beth Paris, director of Darien Senior Programs, spoke with Ms. Hogan about her novel, the story of a woman who loses her husband to dementia. The talk was an opportunity to share information about dementia, and the resources available to those affected by it, and their caretakers.  

Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning (remembering, thinking and reasoning) and behavior abilities, severe enough to interfere with daily life. It’s a general term that describes a group of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or mental ability including Alzheimer’s disease. But there are other conditions that can cause symptoms of dementia. And while dementia is more common as people age, it is not a normal part of aging.

If you or a loved one are experiencing memory difficulties or other changes in cognitive skills, see a doctor as soon as possible to determine the cause. If symptoms indicate dementia, early diagnosis allows a person to benefit from treatments and may be an opportunity to volunteer for clinical trials or studies. It can also allow time to plan for the future.

For more information, contact the Alzheimer’s Association at 800-272-3900. There are also resources available if you are a caregiver. Darien Senior Programs offers a Caregiver Support Group, led by Beth Paris, which meets on the third Wednesday of the month from 1  to 2:30 p.m. Please call the Darien Senior Center at 203-656-7490 for details.

At Home In Darien is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help seniors remain living independently. Visit our website AtHomeInDarien or call for more information at 203-655-2227.

 

Gina Blum

At Home In Darien

Executive Director