How Dementia Is Different From Senility
While senility is a loosely used and somewhat inaccurate and negative reference to cognitive loss, dementia is an accepted medical term.
Dementia;includes a broad range of brain conditions that cause a progressive;decline in a person’s ability to think and remember. Moreover, the loss of these abilities makes it increasingly difficult for people to function or care for themselves.
The most common causes of dementia include;Alzheimer’s disease, followed by;vascular dementia,;Lewy body dementia,;and;frontotemporal dementia. Other less common causes include Huntington’s disease, tertiary syphilis, HIV-associated dementia, and CreutzfeldtJakob disease.
While there is no cure;for dementia, the progression of the condition is typically slow. When faced with evidence of dementia,;doctors will usually classify it by stage based on symptoms.;Based on the findings, the stage of the condition may be classified as follows:
Aphasia In Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimer’s disease can cause aphasia, which is a decline in language function due to brain disease. Alzheimer’s disease is progressive dementia that causes impaired memory, judgment, and general cognitive functioning.
Aphasia in Alzheimer’s disease often begins with word-finding problems, such as difficulty choosing or recalling the right word. It can progress to affect your ability to express yourself, and it can involve comprehension too.
Forgetting Word Spellings May Be A Sign Of Dementia
So you forgot where you parked your car for the second time this month. Or you found yourself flustered and confused when you couldnt find an exit out of the shopping mall. But should you be worried about these symptoms? Or are these general signs of being distracted?
Losing your track of thoughts now and then shouldnt be a concern. While it could also be a sign of aging, there are usually many other reasons you might be forgetting seemingly simple things. Stress, depression, anxiety, menopause, thyroid problems and multitasking are some of them.
It may be natural for you to panic when you forget things, especially if you have a family member who is already diagnosed with dementia. In case youre worried about your brain health, we recommend that you go to your doctor and schedule a brain test. There are a lot of positive brain test reviews available online. Once you have the test results, youll be in peace.
On the other hand, it is necessary to be educated about dementia and its various types. Dementia is a chronic mental illness and includes symptoms like loss of cognition, forgetfulness and the inability to perform daily tasks.
One of the most common forms of dementia is Alzheimers disease. Patients diagnosed with Alzheimers usually face a host of symptoms that are all related to overall cognitive decline.
You May Like: Can You Die From Alzheimer Dementia
Discussing Dementia Symptoms With Dr Alex Bailey
In a new episode of the Age Space Podcast, we talk to Dr Alex Bailey, an old age psychiatrist working in Westminster, sharing his thoughts and advice on dementia. This includes identifying the early signs of dementia, details of memory services, supporting those with dementia to live well, psychological therapies, supporting carers and much more. Listen to the dementia explained podcast.
What to read next…
Eating Nonfood Objects And Rancid Foods
One surprising early sign of dementia is eating nonfood objects or foods that are rancid or spoiled. This is partly because the person forgets what to do with the things in front of them. For example, dementia patients might try to eat the flower in a vase on a restaurant table because they know they are there to eat, but dont know what the flower is doing there, says Rankin. Unlike some other Alzheimers symptoms or dementia symptoms, this one has few other likely explanations.
You May Like: How Is Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosed In Humans
Do Not Keep Correcting The Patient
People with dementia do not like it when someone keeps correcting them every time they say something that may not be right. It makes them feel bad about themselves and can make them drift out of the conversation. Discussions should be humorous and light and one should always speak slowly and clearly using simple and short sentences to capture and keep the interest of the dementia patients.
Common Types Of Dementia And What Families Of Seniors Should Know
If you are concerned that the changes you see in a senior you love might be caused by dementia, a quick review of the different types may help you decide if you need to seek medical advice.
7 Types of Dementia
Isnt Dementia Part Of Normal Aging
No, many older adults live their entire lives without developing dementia. Normal aging may include weakening muscles and bones, stiffening of arteries and vessels, and some age-related memory changes that may show as:
- Occasionally misplacing car keys
- Struggling to find a word but remembering it later
- Forgetting the name of an acquaintance
- Forgetting the most recent events
Normally, knowledge and experiences built over years, old memories, and language would stay intact.
What To Do If A Loved One Is Suspicious Of Having Dementia
- Discuss with loved one.;Talk about seeing a medical provider about the observed changes soon. Talk about the issue of driving and always carrying an ID.
- Medical assessment.;Be with a provider that you are comfortable with. Ask about the Medicare Annual Wellness exam.
- Family Meeting.;Start planning, and gather documents like the Health Care Directive, Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, Estate Plan.
Read Also: Is There A Support Group For Dementia
What Is Mixed Dementia
It is common for people with dementia to have more than one form of dementia. For example, many people with dementia have both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
Researchers who have conducted autopsy studies have looked at the brains of people who had dementia, and have suggested that most people age 80 and older probably have mixed dementia caused by a combination of brain changes related to Alzheimer’s disease,vascular disease-related processes, or another condition that involves the loss of nerve cell function or structure and nerve cell death .
Scientists are investigating how the underlying disease processes in mixed dementia start and influence each other. Further knowledge gains in this area will help researchers better understand these conditions and develop more personalized prevention and treatment strategies.
Other conditions that cause dementia-like symptoms can be halted or even reversed with treatment. For example, normal pressure hydrocephalus, an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, often resolves with treatment.
Researchers have also identified many other conditions that can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms. These conditions include:
Being Confused About Time Or Place
Dementia can make it hard to judge the passing of time. People may also forget where they are at any time.
They may find it hard to understand events in the future or the past and may struggle with dates.
Visual information can be challenging for a person with dementia. It can be hard to read, to judge distances, or work out the differences between colors.
Someone who usually drives or cycles may start to find these activities challenging.
A person with dementia may find it hard to engage in conversations.
They may forget what they are saying or what somebody else has said. It can be difficult to enter a conversation.
People may also find their spelling, punctuation, and grammar get worse.
Some peoples handwriting becomes more difficult to read.
A person with dementia may not be able to remember where they leave everyday objects, such as a remote control, important documents, cash, or their keys.
Misplacing possessions can be frustrating and may mean they accuse other people of stealing.
It can be hard for someone with dementia to understand what is fair and reasonable. This may mean they pay too much for things, or become easily sure about buying things they do not need.
Some people with dementia also pay less attention to keeping themselves clean and presentable.
You May Like: How Do You Spell Alzheimer’s Disease
Disorientation Of Time And Place
“You might be out somewhere and suddenly forget where you are. Or you might be in a shopping centre and not know what direction to go in,” Dr Farrow says.
“Usually if someone just stops for a moment, they can work out ‘oh yes, that’s where I came in, I’ve got to go this way’ but someone with early dementia will be less likely to be able to work it out.”
Talking With A Doctor
After considering the persons symptoms and ordering screening tests, the doctor may offer a preliminary diagnosis or refer the person to a Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service clinic, neurologist, geriatrician or psychiatrist.Some people may be resistant to the idea of visiting a doctor. In some cases, people do not realise, or else they deny, that there is anything wrong with them. This can be due to the brain changes of dementia that interfere with the ability to recognise or appreciate the changes occurring. Others have an insight of the changes, but may be afraid of having their fears confirmed.One of the most effective ways to overcome this problem is to find another reason for a visit to the doctor. Perhaps suggest a check-up for a symptom that the person is willing to acknowledge, such as blood pressure, or suggest a review of a long-term condition or medication.Another way is to suggest that it is time for both of you to have a physical check-up. Any expressed anxiety by the person is an excellent opportunity to suggest a visit to the doctor. Be sure to provide a lot of reassurance. A calm, caring attitude at this time can help overcome the person’s very real worries and fears.Sometimes, your friend or family member may refuse to visit the doctor to ask about their symptoms. You can take a number of actions to get support including:
- talking with other carers who may have had to deal with similar situations
- contacting your local Aged Care Assessment Team
Read Also: Does Andrea Mitchell Have Dementia
What Are The Different Types Of Dementia
Various disorders and factors contribute to the development of dementia. Neurodegenerative disorders result in a progressive and irreversible loss of neurons and brain functioning. Currently, there are no cures for these diseases.
The five most common forms of dementia are:
- Alzheimers disease, the most common dementia diagnosis among older adults. It is caused by changes in the brain, including abnormal buildups of proteins, known as amyloid plaques and tau tangles.
- Frontotemporal dementia, a rare form of dementia that tends to occur in people younger than 60. It is associated with abnormal amounts or forms of the proteins tau and TDP-43.
- Lewy body dementia, a form of dementia caused by abnormal deposits of the protein alpha-synuclein, called Lewy bodies.
- Vascular dementia, a form of dementia caused by conditions that damage blood vessels in the brain or interrupt the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.
- Mixed dementia, a combination of two or more types of dementia.
Dos And Donts For How To Respond
When your senior says something that doesnt make sense or is completely untrue, use these dos and donts to help you respond in a way that keeps them calm. These tips have been tried and tested by an Alzheimers support group leader with 20+ years of experience.
- Respect and join them in their new reality its the one their brain has created
- Respond to the emotion or intention behind the words
- Gently distract them with an activity they enjoy
- Redirect the conversation to a pleasant, positive, or neutral topic
- Use therapeutic fibbing agree with things that arent true or bend the truth in harmless ways if it calms the situation
- Without words, find ways to assure them that theyre safe and cared for hugs or gentle touching often works well
- Force them to live in;our reality
- Respond with logic and reason
- Pay strict attention to their words they may not actually mean what they say
- Keep trying to convince them to see or do things your way
- Say Dont you remember?
- Say No, youre wrong.
- Say Dont do that.
- Tell them that people theyre talking about or wanting to see have;already;passed away
Dont be discouraged if your attempts to soothe or redirect dont work every time. This is a skill that improves with practice. In time, youll figure out what works best for your senior.
Also Check: What Is The 7th Stage Of Alzheimer’s
How Long Do Dementia Patients Live After Diagnosis
Dementia symptoms typically progress slowly. People with dementia will progress from mild to severe dementia at varying speeds and may be diagnosed earlier or later in life. Some people with dementia may live for up to 20 years after their diagnosis, though according to the Alzheimer’s Association research shows that the average person lives for four to eight years after a diagnosis of dementia. It’s important to point out that the diagnosis of dementia is often missed, delayed, or diagnosed when the illness is moderate or advanced. The impact of that variable may not be accurately reflected in the research regarding the years of life post-diagnosis.
Do Offer Assurance Often
Many times, people with dementia may experience feelings of isolation, fear, loneliness or confusion. They may not be able to express this in the right way and thus may wander off or keep saying that they want to go back home, especially if they are in a senior living facility. This is not the time to shut them out. Its a good idea to assure them that they are safe and in a good place.
If you are close enough, provide a comforting hug every once in a while and remind them that they are in a place that has their best interest at heart. Where possible, engage in exercise or take a walk as even light physical activity may help to reduce agitation, restlessness and anxiety.
How Is Dementia Treated
Treatment of dementia depends on the underlying cause. Neurodegenerative dementias, like Alzheimers disease, have no cure, though there are medications that can help protect the brain or manage symptoms such as anxiety or behavior changes. Research to develop more treatment options is ongoing.
Leading a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, healthy eating, and maintaining social contacts, decreases chances of developing chronic diseases and may reduce number of people with dementia.
What Diagnosis Falls Under Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimers disease is a diagnosis in itself. When it is noticeable clinically and identified early on, the formal diagnosis may be Mild Cognitive Impairment due to Alzheimers disease which may later develop into a diagnosis of dementia due to Alzheimers disease.
You May Like: Can Vascular Dementia Be Prevented
How To Recognize Early Signs Of Dementia In Seniors
As a sizable percentage of the population reaches old age, many families worry about the health of their loved ones. A common fear is that a senior family member will be diagnosed with dementia. Dementia, which is a name given to describe a large number of specific memory diseases, affects about 10% of Americans, although the anxiety surrounding dementia makes many people think that the numbers are higher.
Dementia has many stages and forms, but most people are only aware of the late-stage symptoms that can be the most frightening and upsetting. Because these are the more well known symptoms, it can become difficult to understand what the early signs of dementia actually are.;
Its important to try and get a dementia diagnosis as soon as possible so the best treatment plan can be put in place, meaning its equally important to know what the earliest signs of dementia are and how to recognize them in your loved ones.
What Is The Life Expectancy For Dementia Can It Be Cured
There is no cure for dementia.
- Although Alzheimer’s disease is listed as the 6th most common cause of death in the U.S.. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease most commonly die due to infections caused by lack of mobility.
- Pneumonia, bladder infections, bedsores, and other causes can lead to more wide-spread infection and subsequent death.
- Patients with dementias have widely varying life expectancies, depending on the underlying cause of their dementia. Life expectancy can range from only 1 to 2 years to more than 15 years; the average duration of the disease is between 4 and 8 years after diagnosis.
Don’t Miss: Is Reading Good For Dementia