Symptoms Specific To Dementia With Lewy Bodies
Dementia with Lewy bodies has many of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, and people with the condition typically also experience:
- periods of being alert or drowsy, or fluctuating levels of confusion
- visual hallucinations
- becoming slower in their physical movements
- repeated falls and fainting
Read more about dementia with Lewy bodies.
What Are The Signs Of End
It is important for caregivers to know when an individual with dementia is close to the end of their life, because it helps ensure they receive the right amount of care at the right time. It can be difficult to know exactly when this time is due to the variable nature of dementias progression, but understanding common end-of-life symptoms of seniors with dementia can help. Below is a timeline of signs of dying in elderly people with dementia:
Final Six Months
- A diagnosis of another condition such as cancer, congestive heart failure or COPD
- An increase in hospital visits or admissions
Final Two-to-Three Months
- Speech limited to six words or less per day
- Difficulty in swallowing or choking on liquids or food
- Unable to walk or sit upright without assistance
- Hands, feet, arms and legs may be increasingly cold to the touch
- Inability to swallow
- Terminal agitation or restlessness
- An increasing amount of time asleep or drifting into unconsciousness
- Changes in breathing, including shallow breaths or periods without breathing for several seconds or up to a minute
Patients with dementia are eligible to receive hospice care if they have a diagnosis of six months or less to live if the disease progresses in a typical fashion. Once a patient begins experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is time to speak with a hospice professional about how they can help provide added care and support.
What Is The Treatment For Symptoms And Complications Of Dementia
Some symptoms and complications of dementia can be relieved by medical treatment, even if no treatment exists for the underlying cause of the dementia.
- Behavioral disorders may improve with individualized therapy aimed at identifying and changing specific problem behaviors.
- Mood swings and emotional outbursts may be treated with mood-stabilizing drugs.
- Agitation and psychosis may be treated with antipsychotic medication or, in some cases, anticonvulsants.
- Seizures usually require anticonvulsant medication.
- Sleeplessness can be treated by changing certain habits and, in some cases, by taking medication.
- Bacterial infections require treatment with antibiotics.
- Dehydration and malnutrition may be treated with rehydration and supplements or with behavioral therapies.
- Aspiration, pressure sores, and injuries can be prevented with appropriate care.
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Follow A Regular Routine
Without a doubt, patience is an essential quality for dementia caregivers. Kenny recommends setting a daily routine for seniors with Alzheimers because they tend to thrive on familiarity and consistency. However, a certain degree of flexibility is needed to address fluctuations in a loved ones mood and dementia symptoms.
How Do You Know What Stage Of Alzheimer’s Disease A Loved One Is In
The stages of Alzheimers disease presented in this post offer a reasonable framework from which to observe symptoms and understand the progression of the disease. Since there is no medical consensus for Alzheimers stages, as there is with cancer, it is important for caregivers to be aware of the individual symptoms and situation that their patient or loved one is experiencing. While healthcare providers may refer to a patients condition as late or early stage, any specific stage is less important than the context and understanding of what this means for care going forward.
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A Culturally Safe Way To Communicate
The picture cards, co-designed with First Nations representatives including artist Samantha Campbell, are a simple yet, we hope, effective tool. We recognise that the inability for a person with dementia to communicate what they want or need can be frustrating for both them and care staff.
For an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person with dementia, the communication barrier with those providing care can be greater due to language and cultural differences.
Since its inception in 2016, Dementia Support Australia has assisted up to 300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients. For consultants based in Alice Springs, about 80% of their referrals are Indigenous Australians. The picture cards are based on the learnings of this work.
The cards are the first of their kind, designed to support First Nations older people and people with dementia. Co-designing the cards involved listening to and learning what First Nations people needed.
Australian Regional and Remote Community Services, which provides care and support to older people in regional and urban communities throughout the Northern Territory and beyond, had a critical role in reviewing Ms Campbells work. Anthony Lew-Fatt, ARRCS Regional Manager Indigenous Programs, ARRCS Care Manager Kerrie Stevens, based in Mutitjulu, and ARRCS Care Manager Irene Snell, based in Tennant Creek, all had input.
So the doctor is illustrated someone in a casual shirt, to depict a friendly bush doctor.
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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Support Their Cultural And Spiritual Needs
Its good to be aware of the persons cultural and spiritual needs and make sure these are respected and supported. You can make use of any advance care plans or documents, friends and family input and your knowledge of the person. Its important to try and meet these needs as much as possible, they are just as important as medical care.
Are You Losing Things And Just Cant Figure Out Where They Went
We all misplace things. And yes, on a busy morning we may even put the cornflakes box in the refrigerator if were moving too fast. Its normal to put things in the wrong spot, and its normal to catch the mistake or retrace our steps to find the keys sitting on top of todays stack of mail.
Whats not: Being unable to figure out where lost belongings might be, putting things in more and more unusual places and starting to suspectwithout evidencethat people have stolen your missing possessions.
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Whyand Howdoes Someone With Alzheimers Remember Old Memories While New Memories Fade
Navigating the journey of a loved ones memory loss to Alzheimers can be quite difficult, particularly understanding why some memories fade while older memories may be resurrected. A common question is whyand howdoes someone with Alzheimers remember old memories while new memories fade? Though the workings of the brain can still be mysterious in many ways, research has suggested a few reasons.
The best explanation is that Alzheimers affects recent memories first, debilitating retention of new information. Memories of childhood or from long ago are well encoded since the person has had longer to process and remember specific events. In contrast, when Alzheimers symptoms start to show, think of Last in, first out. It can be difficult for a person with dementia to remember something from 20 minutes ago.
More technically speaking, new experiences or memories register in the part of the brain called the hippocampus, which sends the memory to the brains storage bank. When Alzheimers develops, the hippocampus is one of the first areas to be affected. Because that area of the brain cant remember a new memory or person, the hippocampus cant assist in retrieving the memory from the storage bank. These new memories also dont have as much emotional attachment to them, as other memories stored in a different area of the brain, which suggests why its so difficult to retain a new memory.
For more information:
Changes In Behaviour Judgement And Moods
Becoming quiet, withdrawn or restless or frustrated or angry can be early signs of dementia. Someone may develop repetitive behaviour for example, they ask the same question over and over again, do the same thing repeatedly or make multiple phone calls to the same person. They may become insecure and anxious or start hiding and losing items. They may withdraw from social activities or give up hobbies and interests they have enjoyed.
They may show poor judgement, for example putting summer clothes on in cold winter months, not knowing when a kettle is full or overfilling cups when making cold and hot drinks, putting a kettle on the hob or leaving a cooker on or tap running. Someone with dementia may become very emotional and experience rapid mood swings or become quieter and less emotional than usual.
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What Are The Signs That Someone With Dementia Is Dying
It is difficult to know when a person with dementia is coming to the end of their life. However, there are some symptoms that may indicate the person is at the end of their life including:
- limited speech
- needing help with everyday activities
- eating less and swallowing difficulties
- incontinence and becoming bed bound.
When these are combined with frailty, recurrent infections and/or pressure ulcers, the person is likely to be nearing the end of their life. If the person has another life limiting condition , their condition is likely to worsen in a more predictable way.
When a person gets to within a few days or hours of dying, further changes are common. These include:
- deteriorating more quickly
- irregular breathing
- cold hands and feet.
These are part of the dying process, and its important to be aware of them so that you can help family and friends understand what is happening.
When a person with dementia is at the end of life its important to support the person to be as comfortable as possible until they die
For more information, see our page, Signs that someone is in their last days or hours.
First In Last Out: Dementias Impact On Memory
There are many different types of dementia and each affects the brain in different ways. In Alzheimers disease, the hippocampus is one of the first areas of the brain to be damaged. One study found that hippocampal atrophy associated with early AD amounts to a 15 to 30 percent reduction in volume.
The first thing that gets affected is the ability to take in new memories, explains Amanda Smith, MD, director of clinical research at the USF Health Byrd Alzheimers Center and Research Institute.
When the hippocampus isnt functioning correctly, it directly inhibits the ability to process and retain new and recent information. Since this information is never properly encoded, no memory is formed and therefore it cannot be recalled. This is why an Alzheimers patient might remember an event from 20 years ago but cant remember what they did mere minutes ago.
First in, last out is often used to describe the peculiar pattern of memory loss that AD causes. This concept is a take on an inventory valuation method used in accounting. In this application, though, it means that ones first memories like things learned in childhood and young adulthood are the last to fade. The reverse is also true more recent information is the first to be forgotten in Alzheimers patients.
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What You Can Do For Your Loved One
As an individual with dementia declines, you can help them by providing a loving and supportive presence. Sit with them. Hold their hand. Play music they enjoy.
One of the greatest gifts you can give your loved one is helping to get their affairs in order. Ensure that financial and healthcare powers of attorney are put in place, so you can make decisions when your loved one is no longer able. Look into funeral arrangements before you need them, so you dont need to make important decisions in a time of crisis.
Talk to your loved ones physician about the possibility of palliative care support in the home and hospice care when your loved one is ready.
What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease To Progress So Quickly
The progression of Alzheimers disease varies widely between individuals, with most people living with the condition for between 3 and 11 years after the initial diagnosis. In some cases, people may survive for more than 20 years. When Alzheimers is detected early, there are possible treatments that can help to slow the progression of the disease and contribute to a longer life expectancy.
It is therefore crucial to plan for the future and follow the progression of the disease through each stage. Alzheimers disease first begins with physical changes in the brain. This can happen at a gradual pace before any noticeable symptoms appear. In fact, this pre-clinical Alzheimers disease stage can begin 10 to 15 years before any symptoms appear.
What To Do If You Or A Loved One Might Have Dementia
If you or a loved one suspect that you have dementia, you must seek out medical council immediately.
Your doctor will ask you and your caregiver a series of questions to figure out what stage of dementia youre at. These might include some mental tests, including the Mini-Mental State Examination.
This exam has 11 questions to help pinpoint any issues with cognitive decline. The scores range from 0-30, with 30 being the best score and 0 being the lowest.
They may also ask you to complete simple tasks, such as drawing a clock.
If you have received a diagnosis, you need to talk to your family members about your plan of treatment. This can include nursing facilities and treatment programs.
What We Know About Dementia
The National Institute on Aging says that dementia affects approximately 3.4 million Americans, or 13.9 percent, of the U.S. population ages 71 and older and is usually caused by brain damage associated with Alzheimers disease, vascular dementia or Parkinsons disease. And in Canada, the number of people living with dementia is expected to rise 66% by the time we reach 2031.
It is important to differentiate the various types of dementia for about 70% of patients, a diagnosis of dementia will be accompanied by a diagnosis of Alzheimers disease. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, Alzheimers and dementia are not one in the same. Dementia is a loss of brain function that refers to a group of illnesses.
Although dementia may be a symptom of Alzheimers, it may have other underlying causes, such as Picks disease, hypothyroidism or head trauma. While Alzheimers is the leading cause of dementia, vascular dementia, which is often caused by stroke, accounts for about 17% of all dementia cases.
While people will experience dementia differently, most people with dementia share some of the same symptoms that may come and go.
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Dying From Dementia With Late
The death of your loved one can be a hard concept to wrap your head around and accept. But knowing what to expect can help you when your loved one has late-stage dementia. It might help to understand what’s coming in the future so you can prepare emotionally and practically.
This article explains how dementia progresses and what happens during late-stage dementia.
Indigenous Elders Suffering From Dementia At Alarming Rates
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report Dementia in Australia, released in September, rates of dementia for Indigenous people in Australia in remote and rural communities are among the highest in the world.
Elders have a significant role in First Nations communities, and there is strong preference for their care to continue at home or somewhere where they can remain close to their families. There is sensitivity to the idea of removal from their communities. There is a view held by some First Nations people that dementia should not be viewed as a medical issue. Rather, it should be seen as part of the natural cycle of life and deathIts not a problem as long as it does not adversely affect their cultural connections or responsibilities as elders.
As identified in the recent Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, there is a pressing need for culturally sensitive support and services for First Nations people living with the condition. One area requiring focus is assistance with communication for people suffering from dementia.
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While At Home What Can I Do To Help My Loved One With Symptoms Of Dementia
Many people with dementia in the early and intermediate stages are able to live independently.
- With regular checks by a local relative or friend, they are able to live without constant supervision.
- Those who have difficulty with activities of daily living require at least part-time help from a family caregiver or home health aide.
- Visiting nurses can make sure that these individuals take their medications as directed.
- Housekeeping help is available for those who cannot keep up with household chores.
Other affected individuals require closer supervision or more constant assistance.
- Round-the-clock help in the home is available, but it is too expensive for many.
- Individuals who require this level of assistance may need to move from their home to the home of a family caregiver or to an assisted-living facility.
- Many families prefer these options because they give the individual the greatest possible independence and quality of life.
For individuals who are able to remain at home or to retain some degree of independent living, maintaining a familiar and safe environment is important.
Individuals with dementia should remain physically, mentally, and socially active.
A balanced diet that includes low-fat protein foods and plenty of fruits and vegetables helps maintain a healthy weight and prevents malnutrition and constipation. An individual with dementia should not smoke, both for health and for safety reasons. As a caregiver, make sure to take care of yourself.