TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Families should be more aware of early detection, as it is necessary to prevent severe dementia among the elderly, Neurologist Dr. Ruth Mariva Sp.S stated.
"Managing dementia in the elderly is important. The first step to be taken is to detect early in order to prevent deterioration," Mariva remarked during a virtual meeting in Bandar Lampung on Saturday.
The neurologist highlighted that early detection is noticeable from the symptoms, such as a decline in brain functioning due to decreasing acetylcholine substances in brain cells. These symptoms may arise due to old age.
Dementia is a decline in the brain’s ability to perform basic functions, such as thinking, remembering, speaking, and making decisions.
"Currently, human life expectancy gets higher, thereby increasing the number of elderly. Some 80 percent of the elderly have comorbidity. One of which is the decrease in acetylcholine in brain cells that has an important function in the central nervous system to process memory," she explained.
Hence, Mariva advised to not underestimate the symptoms of senility.
According to the neurologist, in addition to the early detection of dementia symptoms, it is also necessary to keep the elderly away from risk factors.
"Manage risk factors that will affect development of the disease through ways, such as maximizing the brain function and getting sufficient rest of six to eight hours a day, as lack of sleep will worsen senility," she expounded.
Mariva drew attention to early warning signs of dementia in the elderly, such as often forgetting new information, difficulty in doing daily activities, difficulty in speaking, quick mood and behavioral changes, and difficulty in thinking.
"Disorientation of time and place, often getting lost in their own environment, misplacing things, declining ability to assess, personality changes, and loss of initiative," she noted.
The neurologist noted that dementia was divided into three stages, and it takes five to seven years for a person to experience the stage of heavy dementia.
"There are three stages that take five to seven years until the final stage. Hence, it would be nice to try to prevent (dementia) by leading a healthy lifestyle rather than treating," she noted.