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Dementia is a progressive decline of the cognitive function.  It is a memory disorder that involves broader deterioration of intellectual function. Dementia causes memory impairment. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common and frequent cause of dementia’s progress. Dementia interferes with personal social relationship and work performance (Victor 3). The scope of this work is to analyze history and the influence of dementia on communication.

History of dementia. By the year 1800, two definitions of dementia were recognized. Both stated psychosocial incompetence as dementia’s central symptoms. The clinical definition included delusions and hallucinations. Dementia was considered a terminal state to all mental, neurological, and physical conditions (Victor 3).

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The nineteenth century’s alienists adopted the clinical-anatomical concept of dementia forming a history of gradual attrition. By the First World War, the view that intellectual impairment is a feature of dementia was established. Thereafter, efforts were made to explain other related symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, mood and behavioral disorders attached to dementia. The acceptances of parenchymal and vascular hypotheses lead to development of arteriosclerotic dementia (Victor 2). This later expanded to capture the role of ageing mechanisms considering senile dementia. By 1920, Alzheimer’s disease became the central point concerning dementia.

Communication decline caused by dementia. Individuals suffering from dementia face difficulties in communication. As dementia progresses from one stage to another, victims have progressive challenges with their communication abilities.  This is due to the fact that dementia affects a person’s cognitive ability, behavior, and memory. This causes communication challenges (Zeien 5).

The effects of dementia vary according to the progression of the disease either in early, middle or late stages. Individuals in early stages of dementia have unimpaired phonology, syntax, articulation, and voice quality. They have good and adequate conversation skills although they may show signs of decline later (Zeien 6). Communication becomes more impaired in the middle stage of dementia. Word recovery, syntax, and reading rates decline. Communication deficit is obvious with poor conversation skills setting in as the disease enters third stage. Patients begin to withdraw from continuous conversations. They have a decline in topic initiations and decrease in social rules of communication (Zeien 7).

Communication is severely declined in the late stages of dementia. Social interaction is greatly affected. Individuals with dementia in this stage literally withdraw from communication. This makes them suffer from social exclusion or isolation (Zeien 8).

Individuals suffering from dementia often lose their communication and understanding abilities. Dementia also results in reduced ability to integrate, understand, and process information. However, dementia can sometimes not express itself through communication impairment.  Occasionally, those affected lose social conventions of conversation. This makes it difficult to interact with victims of dementia due breakdown of their communication abilities (Victor 286).

Stages of dementia. There are three stages of dementia namely early, moderate/middle, and late stages. The stages are arbitrarily defined. There is no clear demarcation and timeline between the stages. Nevertheless, some differences have been noticed (Kelsey 304). During the early stages of dementia, impairment primarily becomes visible. It impedes performing complex tasks such as preparing a meal or driving a car. Kelsey (304) cited that, in the middle stage, the disability begins to have an effect on simple tasks. People suffering from moderate dementia need help to dress, maintain personal hygiene, and converse effectively. In the last stage of dementia, the patients need total care. They need to be fed and often lose control of both the bladder and bowel. Sometimes they are completely unable to walk.

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