Cathy Babao, daughter of seasoned movie and TV actress Caridad Sanchez, revealed that her mom has been dealing with dementia since 2015. In a blog entry that Cathy published on September 17, she shared that her mother is “is fading. Day by day, week by week,” because of her condition.
As described by the World Health Organization (WHO), dementia is “a syndrome in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behavior, and the ability to perform everyday activities.” (Read: 3 Ways to Be a Comfort to Lolos and Lolas Amid the Pandemic)
Cathy admits that at first, she was very hesitant to disclose her mom’s condition to the public since she is a respected actress in the industry. However, she realized that like how it is with mental health conditions, she will “add to the stigma” if she doesn’t speak up about it. (Read: Alden Richards, Julia Montes, and KC Concepcion show their love to their grandparents)
“Why keep it a secret? Hindi naman nakakahiya if we can help others with their journey. I know there are other families going through it but don’t speak about it. Kaya nga dapat may early detection, awareness, and acceptance,” she said in an interview.
Caridad Sanchez’s condition has brought light on the stigma surrounding dementia and has ignited a conversation that has been long overdue. And in order to to help spread awareness and understanding about dementia, My Pope lists five important things to consider when taking care of someone with the same condition.
Dementia Care #1: Start with simple conversations.
When taking care of someone with dementia, it is better if you keep the conversation simple by asking open-ended questions that can be answerable by “yes” or “no.” In this case, the patient will not be overwhelmed and can help lessen stress and anxiety. (Read: Do you cherish your grandparents enough?)
Dementia Care #2: Patience is a virtue.
Patience is a virtue—especially when speaking with a person with dementia. Usually, patients with the condition suffer from a lot of stress and anxiety from the constant struggle of slowly forgetting the thinking skills they’ve lost. That’s why as a family member, it’s important to help relieve the stress they are under by being more patient and understanding of their condition.
Dementia Care #3: Create a calming environment.
It is important for someone with dementia to have a peaceful and calming environment. Going out to the garden or the balcony can help them navigate their body clock and establish a natural rhythm for the day. (Read: We asked three seniors: What is your mission at this stage in your life?)
Dementia Care #4: Laughter helps.
Laughter is very therapeutic for most people who have dementia. Studies also show that humor activates memory and positively stimulates the brain. Laughter can also help you let go of the pressure and stress of being your loved one’s caretaker.
Dementia Care #5: Have a regular exercise.
Research shows that being active can slow down brain aging, that is why it is very advisable for dementia patients to have regular activities and exercises. Some of the activities they can do are gardening, dancing, and walking—with your guidance, of course.