You Keep Getting Lost
The confusion associated with dementia can cause you to feel lost more often, possibly while on your way somewhere new. But it can even happen when heading somewhere you’ve been dozens of times.For example, as Dr. Schreiber says, “you may find that you are using your GPS to go to places that you knew how to get to previously.”
Of course, we all get turned around on occasion, so you won’t want to assume you have dementia just because you get lost while out driving or walking. And the same is true if you’ve always been bad with directions, or simply prefer sticking to a beaten path.
If you develop a new sense of disorientation, however, or find yourself getting lost on familiar roads, let a doctor know.
Is Dementia A Mental Illness
Dementia is a mental health disorder as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association changed the name to Major Neurocognitive Disorder, which is a mouthful. The change was made in order to provide a clearer description of the problem. Whats most important to know is that dementias can involve changes to emotions, behaviors, perceptions, and movements in addition to memory and thinking.
Where Can I Find Financial Help For People With Alzheimer’s Disease Or Their Caregivers
There are several possible sources of financial help, depending on your situation. Looking into programs offered by the government is a great place to start. Several federal and state programs provide help with health care-related costs. Read Paying for Care for information on government programs and other payment sources.
The following organizations also offer assistance with finding financial help:
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A Shortened Attention Span
As Alzheimer’s spreads in the brain, one issue that might pop up is a shortened attention span. Someone who used to be able to sit and have a full conversation might no longer be able to focus on just one thing for more than a few minutes or even a few seconds, according to the National Institute on Aging.
Who Is This Dementia Quiz For
Below is a list of 9 questions composed for people who are concerned about memory loss. The questions relate to life experiences common among people who have symptoms of dementia, currently known as Neurocognitive Disorder , and are based on criteria in the DSM-5.
The following questions encompass the six domains of cognition that are evaluated when assessing symptoms NCD: executive functioning, complex attention, perceptual-motor ability, social interactions, learning/memory-related difficulties, and challenges involving daily activities.
Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often you have experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few months.
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Life Expectancy By Stage Of The Disease
The average number of years a person lives with Alzheimers disease is about 10. Keep in mind, however, that theres a gap between when symptoms begin and when a diagnosis is actually sought. The first symptoms of Alzheimers diseaseforgetting names, misplacing items, difficulty concentrating at work or performing simple tasksarrive an average of almost three years before the diagnosis is made.
The scale most commonly used by health professionals for the stages of dementia is the Global Deterioration Scale , also called the Reisberg Scale. The table below shows a patients average life expectancy by the stage of dementia. These are averages based on studies of large numbers of Alzheimers patients.
|Life Expectancy By Stage of Alzheimers / Dementia|
|Stage 7: Very Severe Cognitive Decline||1.5 to 2.5 years||2.5 years or less|
You’ve Been Experiencing Memory Changes
If you’re developing dementia, one of the first symptoms you might experience is a change in your ability to remember things, which might include forgetting what you just got up to do, or losing your train of thought mid-sentence.
“Signs of early-onset dementia include short-term memory changes, often described as an ‘inability to keep a thought in your head,'”Dr. Faisal Tawwab, MD, tells Bustle. So, if your words escape you, or you’ve suddenly become super forgetful, take note.
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Life As A Caregiver: My Husband Is A Different Man Now
People dont understand the magnitude of work and care that it takes to care for someone with Alzheimer’s. Its justendless. Quality sleep isnt even an option for me. If I get five hours of intermittent sleep a night, I am doing really good.
We often use dark humor to cope with difficult stuff in our family. For example, one of the big jokes in my house is about how I have some-timers because sometimes I remember things and sometimes I dont. Thats how it is for caregivers. Were under so much stress and we have so many responsibilities, it can be hard to think straight sometimes.
But just when you think you’re at your wits end and you cant do anymore, you somehow dig a little deeper and pray that God gives you a little more strength to deal with it and push forward. Some days Im still a wife, but most days, Im a caregiver. Ive lost the man that I married. Hes another man now, and I still love him, but its so different. I just keep trying to be the best wife and mother I can be.
Difficulty Completing Everyday Tasks
The person may have difficulty completing an otherwise familiar task. For example, they may find it hard to:
- get to a grocery store, restaurant, or place of employment
- follow the rules of a familiar game
- prepare a simple meal
Sometimes, people need help with new or unfamiliar things as they get older, such as the settings on a new phone. However, this does not necessarily indicate a problem.
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Getting An Accurate Diagnosis
â with young onset is that dementia is not something that they think about initially. If youâre a woman, the first thing they think about is menopause and depression and anxiety and panic and sleep disorders and all those kinds of things.â â Faye, from Windsor Junction, Nova Scotia. Faye lives with young onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Diagnosing dementia can be a long and complicated process. For younger people, itâs even more complicated and frustrating. Healthcare providers are often reluctant to diagnose dementia in someone so young, and itâs common for a person who has young onset dementia to be misdiagnosed with another condition, such as depression.
As a a result, the person living with young onset dementia may not get the appropriate knowledge, treatment and support to fight the disease.
Stage : Moderately Severe Dementia
When the patient begins to forget the names of their children, spouse, or primary caregivers, they are most likely entering stage 6 of dementia and will need full time care. In the sixth stage, patients are generally unaware of their surroundings, cannot recall recent events, and have skewed memories of their personal past. Caregivers and loved ones should watch for:
- Delusional behavior
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You Struggle To Recall What You Just Read
Most dementia symptoms will have an affect on your memory, in some way, shape, or form. So it makes sense it can impact your ability to read â and remember what you just read â as well.
As Zerling says, many people with early-onset dementia find that they need to start taking notes while they’re reading, in order to remember what’s going on in the story.
Taking notes, of course, can be a good way to keep track or information, especially if you’re studying. And thus it isn’t a surefire sign of dementia. But if your note-taking is due to a newly developed memory problem, it may a symptom worth looking into.
Overview Of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of brain disease, just as coronary artery disease is a type of heart disease. It is also a degenerative disease, meaning that it becomes worse with time. Alzheimer’s disease is thought to begin 20 years or more before symptoms arise,- with changes in the brain that are unnoticeable to the person affected. Only after years of brain changes do individuals experience noticeable symptoms such as memory loss and language problems. Symptoms occur because nerve cells in parts of the brain involved in thinking, learning and memory have been damaged or destroyed. As the disease progresses, neurons in other parts of the brain are damaged or destroyed. Eventually, nerve cells in parts of the brain that enable a person to carry out basic bodily functions, such as walking and swallowing, are affected. Individuals become bed-bound and require around-the-clock care. Alzheimer’s disease is ultimately fatal.
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Differences Between Women And Men In The Prevalence And Risk Of Alzheimer’s And Other Dementias
More women than men have Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women., Of the 5.8 million people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s in the United States, 3.6 million are women and 2.2 million are men., Based on estimates from ADAMS, among people age 71 and older, 16% of women have Alzheimer’s or other dementias compared with 11% of men.
The prevailing reason that has been stated for the higher prevalence of Alzheimer’s and other dementias in women is that women live longer than men on average, and older age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s.- But when it comes to differences in the actual risk of developing Alzheimer’s or other dementias for men and women of the same age, findings have been mixed. Most studies of incidence in the United States have found no significant difference between men and women in the proportion who develop Alzheimer’s or other dementias at any given age., , – However, some European studies have reported a higher incidence among women at older ages,, and one study from the United Kingdom reported higher incidence for men. Differences in the risk of dementia between men and women may therefore depend on age and/or geographic region.,
What Are The Early Signs Of Alzheimer’s Disease
Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease, though different people may have different initial symptoms. A decline in other aspects of thinking, such as finding the right words, vision/spatial issues, and impaired reasoning or judgment, may also signal the very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, is a condition that can also be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease but not everyone with MCI will develop Alzheimer’s. In addition to memory problems, movement difficulties and problems with the sense of smell have been linked to MCI. If you have MCI, its important to see a doctor or specialist regularly to monitor any changes in memory or thinking .
Learn more about the signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
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Dementia In Younger People
People whose symptoms started when they were under the age of 65 are often known as younger people with dementia or as having young-onset dementia. This is not for a biological reason, but is based on the fact that 65 was the usual age of retirement for many people.People sometimes use the terms early-onset dementia or working-age dementia. This information uses the term young-onset dementia.
Dementia is caused by a wide range of different diseases. This is similar for younger and older people , but there are important differences in how dementia affects younger people. These include the following:
- A wider range of diseases cause young-onset dementia.
- A younger person is much more likely to have a rarer form of dementia.
- Younger people with dementia are less likely to have memory loss as one of their first symptoms.
- Young-onset dementia is more likely to cause problems with movement, walking, co-ordination or balance.
- Young-onset dementia is more likely to be inherited this affects up to 10% of younger people with dementia.
- Many younger people with dementia dont have any other serious or long-term health conditions.
What Causes Parkinson Disease
Parkinson disease arises from decreased dopamine production in the brain. The absence of dopamine makes it hard for the brain to coordinate muscle movements. Low dopamine also contributes to mood and cognitive problems later in the course of the disease. Experts don’t know what triggers the development of Parkinson disease most of the time. Early onset Parkinson disease is often inherited and is the result of certain gene defects.
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Symptoms Specific To Frontotemporal Dementia
Although Alzheimer’s disease is still the most common type of dementia in people under 65, a higher percentage of people in this age group may develop frontotemporal dementia than older people. Most cases are diagnosed in people aged 45-65.
Early symptoms of frontotemporal dementia may include:
- personality changes reduced sensitivity to others’ feelings, making people seem cold and unfeeling
- lack of social awareness making inappropriate jokes or showing a lack of tact, though some people may become very withdrawn and apathetic
- language problems difficulty finding the right words or understanding them
- becoming obsessive such as developing fads for unusual foods, overeating and drinking
Read more about frontotemporal dementia.
Symptoms Appear Before Age 60
Perhaps the biggest defining sign of early onset Alzheimers is the timing of the symptoms first appearing. The most common form of Alzheimers, late onset Alzheimers, typically begins showing signs when a person is in their 60s.
Early onset Alzheimers, meanwhile, can start taking effect as early as your 30s and 40s. Typically, patients are diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers in their 40s or 50s.
Dr. James Ellison of the Swank Memory Care Center at Christiana Care Health System in Delaware writes that the majority of early onset Alzheimers disease does not run in families. Some families, however, do have a genetic mutation that almost guarantees development of early onset Alzheimers.
In an interview, Dr. Ellison said that people in their 40s and 50s should not be experiencing the so-called 10 warning symptoms of Alzheimers. If they are, they may have the early onset version of the disease.
In your 40s and 50s you should not be experiencing these symptoms, Ellison said. If you know something is wrong, keep looking for doctors or others who have the knowledge to treat you.
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What Is Dementia And What Causes It
Dementia is a syndrome that causes a person to develop difficulty and problems with their memory or their ability to think. Unlike the normal changes that happen in a persons memory and thinking over time, dementia affects someones ability to function in their daily life activities and their normal routine .There are different causes of dementia. These causes are typically underlying neurological conditions . One common cause of dementia is Alzheimers disease. Other causes include diseases that impact brain blood vessels. For example, strokes may cause what is commonly termed Vascular Dementia. Some causes include Lewy Body Disease and Parkinsons disease.
You Struggle To Learn New Things
It can be tough to learn new skills, but people with dementia often have a particularly difficult time. If you have early-onset dementia, Zwerling says you might struggle with things like learning how to use a new tool, or when developing a new skill.
You might also notice that you’re suddenly struggling to work with numbers, or that you can’t easily develop or follow a plan. If these traits have always been part of your personality, then you probably don’t have to worry. But don’t hesitate to get more information about your health should these things seem out of the ordinary, or if they start to negatively impact your day.
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Problems Writing Or Speaking
The person may also have difficulty with words and communication. They may find it hard to follow or contribute to a conversation, or they may repeat themselves. They may also have difficulty writing down their thoughts.
The person may stop in the middle of a conversation, unable to figure out what to say next. They may also struggle to find the right word or label things incorrectly.
It is not uncommon for people to occasionally struggle to find the right word. Typically, they eventually remember it and do not experience the problem frequently.
How Is Parkinson Disease Diagnosed
Parkinson disease can be hard to diagnose. No single test can identify it. Parkinson can be easily mistaken for another health condition. A healthcare provider will usually take a medical history, including a family history to find out if anyone else in your family has Parkinson’s disease. He or she will also do a neurological exam. Sometimes, an MRI or CT scan, or some other imaging scan of the brain can identify other problems or rule out other diseases.
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Stage : Mild Dementia
At this stage, individuals may start to become socially withdrawn and show changes in personality and mood. Denial of symptoms as a defense mechanism is commonly seen in stage 4. Behaviors to look for include:
- Difficulty remembering things about one’s personal history
- Difficulty recognizing faces and people
In stage 4 dementia, individuals have no trouble recognizing familiar faces or traveling to familiar locations. However, patients in this stage will often avoid challenging situations in order to hide symptoms or prevent stress or anxiety.
What Is Early Onset Familial Alzheimer Disease
Definition: What Is eFAD?
Early onset familial Alzheimer disease is hereditary and marked by Alzheimer disease symptoms that appear at an unusually early age. Symptoms can start in a person’s thirties, forties, and fifties . Generally, if you are diagnosed with eFAD, then one of your parents will also have had it if he or she lived long enough, and your siblings and your children may have a 50-50 chance of having inherited it. Very rarely, eFAD can make a first-time appearance in a family through a new genetic mutation.
Genetics researchers studied eFAD families to discover the three known genes that cause familial AD: amyloid precursor protein , presenilin-1 , and presenilin-2 . Of these, PS1 mutations account for most eFAD, while APP and PS2 are more rare. Having a pathogenic mutation in one of these three genes virtually guarantees that one will develop early onset Alzheimer disease. Tests can determine which gene is at fauly . There are also cases of eFAD that cannot be linked to one of these three genes. There may be additional genes waiting to be discovered, if only researchers could connect with more eFAD families.
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How Common Is Early Onset Familial Alzheimer Disease?
For practical and research purposes, doctors and scientists need defined populations for study and the numbers change based on the definitions. The definition would seem to rest on two criteria:
|Early onset sporadic||Late-onset sporadic|
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