Recognize - Dementia sufferers
Recognizing dementia in the initial phase is not easy. This is because the phenomena are so 'normal' at the beginning. In addition, the patient usually says that everything is fine. Family members often notice that something is wrong.
Recognizing dementia in the initial phase is also difficult for health care providers. GPs do not recognize dementia in some patients with early dementia. But the other way around also occurs: in some patients with complaints they suspect that there is dementia, while it appears that this is not the case.
Dementia is three to four times more prevalent among elderly people from Morocco and Turkey and elderly Surinamese with a Hindu background than among Dutch peers. Socio-economic status and genetic predisposition to diabetes play a role in the development of dementia. Family often does not recognize the symptoms of dementia as well. In other words: the family does not recognize the symptoms as a symptom of an illness. Sometimes the family regards the changed behavior as "madness" and is ashamed of the behavior change. As a result, the disease is often diagnosed late. Diagnostics is also hampered by language problems in the older generation. There has been an adapted screening test since 2015, but it is by no means everywhere used.
There are online tests for Moroccans and Turks (SignaLeren, in Dutch, Turkish, Berber and Arabic). Family members learn to recognize dementia in their older family member on the basis of short films about a symptom (http://signaleren.alzheimer-nederland.nl/).
Mentally challenged people
Due to the existing intellectual disability, dementia is often diagnosed late. Counselors and family do notice that the client is deteriorating, but they usually do not make a connection with dementia. They think the decline is due to aging, unrest or overload. Signs of dementia are: decrease in interest, irritability, sleeping problems and aggressive showers. Patients are less active, cognitive decline, lose skills that they previously mastered and their motor skills decrease. These phenomena may also have other causes. That requires good observation, multidisciplinary discussion and further research.