Good news on the Dementia front

Posted on April 9, 2012


Dementia is a word none of us would like to hear while in a doctor’s office, whether it be about us or a loved one. The word “dementia” comes from a Latin root meaning madness, de- “without” and ment from the root of mens’ meaning “mind.” The word is closely associated with another word, demented.

Demented is defined as, crazy or insane and has synonyms of: bananas, bemused, crackbrained, daft, delirious, deranged, foolish, fruity, idiotic, lunatic, mad, etc.. This is not how I would like to be described, how about you?

It looks like help may be arriving from the DSM-5 task force, a group of medical experts responsible for updating the DSM manual. One of their proposed changes is a name change from dementia to “major neurocognitive disorder” or MNCD. As they state, “This rewording focuses on decline (rather than deficit — consistent with the requirement in the basic definition of an acquired disorder) from a previous level of performance.”

This change will be a positive one and I hope that those in the medical field will begin using it and take some of the stigma that comes with the diagnosis.

If you are a patient, caregiver, family member or friends with someone affected by this condition please keep reading. There is no reason for anyone to carry the burden of carrying for someone alone, there are resources in most communities that will help you understand what is happening and reach out to others. There is an easy to use web site, CareTogether, which can pull together caregivers, family and the community.

CareTogether helps the family caregiver organize and work with family and friends to deliver all aspects of care through scheduling, messaging, task lists and resources to make sure they have all the support they need to provide the best care possible for their loved one. There are multiple roles within CareTogether, the Family Caregiver or admin, the Care Team and the Community. This allows different information to go to each group. The Care Team would include family members and/or friends that help providing care and support. The Community includes other family, friends or loved ones who join CareTogether to receive updates but don’t provide an active role in providing care. This may include members of a church, club or activity in which the patient is involved. CareTogether also interfaces with Facebook so, if you choose, updates need only be placed in one place for all to be informed.

Don’t be afraid to reach out, we need not face the future alone. Get educated, be informed and ask for help.