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Physiological and Psychological Changes of Dementia

Info: 1465 words (6 pages) Nursing Assignment
Published: 25th May 2020

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Tagged: dementia

Care of the Older Person Project 2

Throughout my project I will be discussing the issues for a person who suffers with the chronic illness, dementia. I will be exploring the physiological and psychological change that may occur for someone with dementia. I will look into the persons needs in relation to this condition. I will also discuss the role of the career and multidisciplinary team in assisting a person with dementia. I will source my information from class notes, online and from my work placement.

What is dementia? What are the physiological and psychological changes that occur for the older person with dementia?

Dementia is a chronic illness in which causes a gradual loss of a person’s cognitive functions. This can include memory ability, attention span, orientation, emotions and motor skills. This illness is gradual meaning it will gradually get worse over time but will not improve. Within dementia there are seven stages:

  1. No cognitive decline.
  2. Very mild cognitive decline.
  3. Mild cognitive decline.
  4. Moderate cognitive decline.
  5. Moderately severe cognitive decline.
  6. Severe cognitive decline.
  7. Very severe cognitive decline.

Today in Ireland there are about 55,000 people living with dementia according to irishhealth.ie. Dementia can cause a number of physiological and psychological changes. These can include: repetitive behavior such as wanting to go to the bathroom more than usual, emotional disturbances eg. Depression or anger, agitation, wandering, may be delusional, may be physically aggressive and may lash out, may have sleep disturbances, loss of balance and coordination, stiff muscles, shuffling or dragging of feet, trouble controlling bladder or bowels and may have seizures or uncontrollable twitches. All of these may not occur but a person with dementia can present with a number of these symptoms and side effects due to their condition.

Explore the person’s needs in relation to the condition.

“People do not consist of memory alone. They have feeling, will, sensibility, morel being. It is here that you may touch them, and see a profound change” – Alexander Rossinovich Luria.

Through Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs we see a person’s requirements from birth for development to adulthood and onto later life. These include physiological, love and belonging, esteem needs, self-actualization and safety needs. When a child is born they develop through these stages one by one. But when a person’s condition of dementia starts to progressively worsen they tend to move backwards on these steps as their memories are lost and their life experiences are forgotten.

In order to try maintaining a person’s needs there is a number of things you can do as a caregiver. These may include:

–          Maintaining good nutrition. This may be done by having set meals and meal times. This can assist in making sure the person gets enough to eat and are getting the right foods that are needed.

–          As the persons condition progresses the person may need reminders or assistance with washing and dressing. It is also important to respect the person’s dignity at all times.

–          Use of memory aids around the home can help the person remember where things are kept. Such as putting labels and signs on cupboards, drawers and doors.

What is the role of the carer and multidisciplinary team in assisting the person with dementia, what practices need to be implemented, what care settings are available?

A Multidisciplinary Team is a group/team of professional who together make decisions regarding recommended treatment of individual clients. Multidisciplinary Teams may specialise in certain conditions, such as dementia.

Carers and the multidisciplinary team ensure to build a good relationship with each client individually. Building a relationship involves using effective communication with each client and their families in order to provide the best quality care to each person. It is important that  both the carer and the multidisciplinary team are continuously keeping an eye on the clients condition and that any change in the clients condition is reported and then reviewed in order to ensure they are getting the best care they can to ensure they can have their best quality of life. For example, sometimes with dementia, a person’s swallow can worsen. When this happens the client must be assessed by the speech and language therapist (SALT).  The SALT will then asses the client on how they swallow their food and their drinks. They will then decide if they need their food to be done in a different texture or if they may require thickener in their drinks.

4) State the current approaches towards developing quality services for people with dementia.

In my local area there are a number of services in my area for older people with dementia. These are specifically set out in order to prevent social isolation and to improve the quality of life for those who are living at home with dementia. Some of these services include:

Day centers.

The day care centres provide person centred care in order to meet the needs of the person with dementia in a heartfelt, friendly and safe environment while providing support and motivation.

They work with each person to make sure that they all feel comfortable and supported and their individual needs are meet. The day centre offers a wide range of activities including music sessions, gentle exercises, arts and crafts and personal care. The day centre also includes a hot lunch and transport is provided.

Befriending services

Befriending Service provides company to hundreds of older people in my area who are socially isolated. Every week volunteers will visit older people in their homes as well as attended a range of social events. The befriending services are continually developing in order to ensure that all older people who require it will have access to a great quality service.

Men’s shed.

The Men’s Shed is a meeting place where men can come together. It’s a place where men can share their talents and understanding with others, learn new skills or improve old skills. Good health is based on many factors including feeling good about yourself, being creative in the community, connecting with others and sustaining an active body and an active mind.

Memory clinic.

The Memory Clinic is a focused service for those with memory loss, changes in mental function and dementia. Diagnosis and treatments are provided for those concerned about changes in their memory and memory conditions, including dementia. In the memory clinicthey offer an Assessment Clinic Feedback Clinic and a Social Work Support Service. The Memory Clinic also provides information, advice and support about living with dementia for clients, carers and family members.

Meals on wheels.

This is a program that delivers meals to those at home who are not able to purchase or prepare their own meals. Because those who avail of this service are housebound, many of the recipients are elderly people, and many of the volunteers are also elderly but able-bodied and are also able to drive.


In conclusion to this project I have found it to be very informative and I have learned a lot from it. I now have a better understanding of dementia and the different ways that it can affect a person. I have a better understanding of the different types of dementia also. I know how the needs a person with dementia may change as their condition worsens. When looking into the different services for people with dementia I found that there could be more available in the future as there are becoming more and more people diagnosed with dementia.



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The definition of dementia in global terms states that it is an umbrella term describing a variety of progressive in nature symptoms including problems with memory, reasoning, understanding, learning and speech, that are caused by the impact of this disease on the brain and will impair the functioning of the person in their daily living activities.

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