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How Social Media Can Help Dementia Patients

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It’s a diagnosis no one wants to hear: you or your loved one has dementia. Whether it’s progressed to Alzheimer’s or it’s some other form of dementia, living with the challenges it brings can be difficult.

Confused Senior Man Suffering With Depression And Dementia Being Comforted By Wife

What is Dementia?

The Mayo Clinic defines dementia as “a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with your daily life.” There are many things you can do to help keep dementia at bay, such as:

  • Taking care of your physical health by eating right and exercising.
  • Taking on hobbies that will help you stay mentally alert, like brain puzzles or reading.
  • Staying involved socially by attending community events or spending time with friends.

Can Dementia Be Cured?

While no official cure exists, many doctors will advise continuing to do the same things listed above to help reduce the effects of dementia. Another option is a medicine like Cerebrolysin to help treat dementia symptoms. Cerebrolysin was developed to stimulate the regeneration of the nervous system, therefore improving cognitive abilities.

How Can Social Media Help?

Social media platforms have gotten much easier for older populations to use and that’s a good thing. Research shows that people with dementia tend to maintain their level of functioning longer with social contact, and social media is one way to achieve that.

Take Facebook for example. It has the ability to group people, different ways to communicate, and special features that bring up memories. Here are some helpful ways to utilize it:

  1. Take advantage of the ‘Memories’ tab under the ‘Explore’ menu. This shows past posts made on the same day for each year you’ve been on Facebook. These memories also pop up in the newsfeed each day. Giving dementia patients triggers to promote happy memories can help them keep those memories alive.
  2. Set up a group message or private group with the most important family members or friends. Use this to communicate with your loved one so everyone is kept in the loop and aware of any changes.
  3. Add them to a dementia support group. There are several on Facebook and they are also helpful for the caregivers.
  4. Show them where the Facebook games are so that they can play games that engage their brains in various thinking skills.

Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media channels also provide support options for dementia patients. Twitter can be a handy resource for caregivers, Instagram is another way to jog memories through visual stimulation, and Pinterest can be a good way to search for new things to try for social or cognitive engagement.

No matter how you implement social media, it’s a popular way of staying in touch, aware, and connected, and it’s worth a try to help a dementia patient with their symptoms.

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