Aktios is possibly the most specialized centre of long-term care for demented patients in Greece. It follows a dynamic functioning model that emphasizes occupation and mobilization rather than passive care.
During the day activities groups take place as well as exercise groups whereas trained physiotherapists can provide individual intervention for mobility and muscular empowerment.
At Aktios we organise training seminars of the family concerning the behaviour in people with dementia. At the same time we train constantly our partners in individual care and behavioural intervention.
Our quests are separated in levels according to their operating and cognitive possibility. In every level it is provided 24 hour nursing care, Pathological and Neurological monitoring, individual and group activities with psychologists and the social worker as well as individual and group physiotherapy programs by specialised physiotherapists.
Here is some information about dementia and the ways that we at Aktios treat people with dementia:
Dementia is a disease that affects all the cognitive abilities of the brain.Alzheimer’s dementia is a degenerative disease that slowly and progressively affects every aspect of the patient’s daily living and becomes a real problem not only for the patient but also for his family environment that at least in the beginning assumes the role and responsibility of the caregiver. The disease affects memory, behaviour and mental functioning (e.g. judgment, speaking), as well as basic life functions such as ambulation, sleeping, swallowing and the ability to control body sphincters.
At first the symptoms - such as difficulty with memory and loss of intellectual abilities - may be so slight that they go unnoticed, both by the person concerned and his or her family and friends. However, as the disease progresses, the symptoms become more and more noticeable and begin to interfere with work and social activities. Practical difficulties with daily tasks such as dressing, washing, and going to the bathroom gradually become so severe that in time the ill person becomes totally dependent on others.
Currently, there is no preventative or curative treatment for Alzheimer's disease. However, a number of new drugs may slow the progression of the disease and help alleviate some symptoms such as agitation, anxiety, hallucinations, and insomnia. Some currently available drugs may inhibit the enzyme responsible for neutralizing acetylcholine, thus increasing the concentration of the substance available to the neurons. Occasionally these drugs improve memory and concentration; however, the improvement is inconsistent and not very large. Therefore, other pharmacological strategies, such as dismantling the amyloid plaque, are currently being studied.
Although life expectancy has increased impressively in the last decades with the rapid development in medicine and the treatment of terminal conditions, we have not made the same progress in the treatment of the chronic diseases of the ageing, such as Alzheimer’s dementia, vascular dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Thus, according to the newest epidemiological data, there are currently over 2000.000 persons who suffer from some kind of dementia, with this figure continuously increasing. It is indicative that according to research, 10% of all people above 65 years old and 35% above 80 years old suffer from some type of dementia while 50% to 70% of all people with dementia suffer from Alzheimer's disease.
Traditionally, care has been provided at home by the family or by hired help. However, because patients need around-the-clock care, the functioning of the entire family is severely disrupted and providing care at home becomes impractical because of several non pharmaceutical and other interventions. This is particularly true in the large cities where most families live in limited space, and have demanding working schedules.
Yet the decision to move a frail family member from his or her home to a care facility is often associated with ambivalence, guilt, and a sense of abandonment. However, the low quality of care services at home from untrained individuals and the need for specialised interventions makes the decision to hospitalize an elderly in a specialized care Unit like Aktios a necessity.
Treatment of people with Dementia
As we have seen, and as it sited in international references, after diagnosing a family member with Alzheimer’s disease, the other members of the family experience pain and guilt. Many times the patient loses his time and space orientation and founds himself to be in a much younger period of his life. The pain that the family experiences is due to the changes seen not just to his behaviour but also in the overall personality of the patient, changes that mark the end of their relationship in the shape and form that had up until that time. These changes in the behaviour and the personality of the patient also affect the Unit’s staff.
This is why all of us who work with demented patients, need to respect the demented reality of the patient. This actually means that everyone who assumes the responsibility for the care of a person with dementia, has to be able to understand the psychotic symptoms and the behavioral disturbances caused by dementia, to accept the elder’s uniqueness and simplify daily living, without allowing this absurdity to affect the quality of care.
It is useful to keep in mind some basic principles when we take care and elderly individual:
- The quality of care we provide, is affected directly by our own psychological situation
- Our emotional condition, and the way we experience things is transmitted to the patient. Therefore, our anxiety may cause anxiety to the patient, our fear may bring fear, and our suspiciousness and anger, may cause irritability
- The excessive repression of the elderly on one hand, and the excessive tolerance on the other, may cause aggressiveness and immunity respectively
- There is always another way to convince the patient to do want we want
- There is always another way of viewing things, and another perspective different than ours, and we have to respect it in order to achieve the harmonious coexistence with an elderly, and provide quality care services.