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What Is It Like To Have Dementia

Stage : Mild Cognitive Impairment

Dementia from the inside

Clear cognitive problems begin to manifest in stage 3. A few signs of stage 3 dementia include:

  • Getting lost easily
  • Noticeably poor performance at work
  • Forgetting the names of family members and close friends
  • Difficulty retaining information read in a book or passage
  • Losing or misplacing important objects
  • Difficulty concentrating

Patients often start to experience mild to moderate anxiety as these symptoms increasingly interfere with day to day life. Patients who may be in this stage of dementia are encouraged to have a clinical interview with a clinician for proper diagnosis.

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.

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.

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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.

Alzheimers Behaviors To Track

What does it feel like to have dementia?

For each of these behaviors, try to make note of the following:

  • Whether theres been a decline or change compared to the way your parent used to be
  • Whether this seems to be due to memory and thinking, versus physical limitations such as pain, shortness of breath or physical disabilities
  • When you or another person first noticed problems, and what you observed
  • What kinds of problems you see your parent having now

If you dont notice a problem in any of the following eight areas, make a note of this. That way youll know you didnt just forget to consider that behavior.

Have you noticed:

  • Signs of poor judgment? This means behaviors or situations that suggest bad decisions. Examples include worrisome spending, or not noticing a safety issue others are concerned about.
  • Reduced Interest in Leisure Activities? This means being less interested and involved in ones usual favorite hobbies and activities. You should especially pay attention if there isnt a physical health issue interfering with doing the activity.
  • Repeating Oneself? Has your parent started repeating questions or stories more than he used to?
  • Difficulty Learning to Use Something New? Common examples include having trouble with a new kitchen appliance or gadget. This can be a tricky one to decide on, given that gadgets become more complicated every year. But if youve noticed anything, jot it down.
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    Diseases Such As Alzheimers Disease Cause Nerve Cells To Die Damaging The Structure And Chemistry Of The Brain

    There are lots of other causes and no two types of dementia are the same. In different types of dementia there is damage to different parts of the brain.

    Other types of dementia include:

    Alzheimers disease tends to start slowly and progress gradually. Vascular dementia after a stroke often progresses in a stepped way. This means that symptoms are stable for a while and then suddenly get worse.

    Everyone experiences dementia in their own way. Lots of things can affect this, including the persons attitude to their diagnosis and their physical health. Other factors include the relationships they have with friends and family, the treatment and support they get, and their surroundings.

    Get your free copy of this information

    Our free booklet lists essential information that everyone should know about dementia.

    Where To Get Help

    • Your local community health centre
    • National Dementia Helpline Dementia Australia Tel. 1800 100 500
    • Aged Care Assessment Services Tel. 1300 135 090
    • My Aged Care 1800 200 422
    • Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service clinics Tel. 1300 135 090
    • Carers Victoria Tel. 1800 242 636
    • Commonwealth Carelink and Respite Centres Australian Government Tel. 1800 052 222
    • Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service Tel. 1800 699 799 for 24-hour telephone advice for carers and care workers

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    Behavioral Differences In Dementia Patients

    Dementia patients experience symptoms differently, but in general, these are the seven stages of dementia, along with typical dementia behaviors:

    Stage 1: Normal Behavior

    • Everyone starts off at this stage. No symptoms may be evident, but changes may already be occurring in the brain over several years.

    Stage 2: Forgetfulness

    • In the very early stages of dementia, someone may start to forget things easily such as past conversations, or where they have put things around their home. At this point, it may be hard to tell whether this is just old age, a persons natural forgetfulness, or the first sign of dementia.

    Stage 3: Mild Decline

    • In this stage, which can last up to seven years, the memory loss may seem more pronounced. They may be losing things more frequently, forgetting appointments, and seem a little off.

    Stage 4: Moderate Decline

    • Signs and symptoms of dementia are more obvious to loved ones and maybe even strangers interacting with them. They may forget simple details such as what they last ate, or when they last ate. The person may start having difficulties managing tasks like paying bills.
    • They may be diagnosed with dementia by a doctor at this point. This stage tends to last around two years.

    Stage 5: Moderately Severe Decline

    Stage 6: Severe Decline

    Stage 7: Very Severe Decline

    How To Detect Early Signs Of Alzheimer’s

    Virtual tour shows what it feels like to be dementia patient

    Some 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, the most common type of dementia. The puzzles are meant to replicate what they go through.

    The humiliation of not being able to complete a simple task leads to anger, for example. Theres also fear and stress because failing such tests could lead to job loss or a confiscated drivers license. People might lash out because no matter how hard they try, they feel like a failure. Depression is a common outcome, the project explains.

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    What Are The Most Common Types Of Dementia

    • Alzheimers disease. This is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of cases. It is caused by specific changes in the brain. The trademark symptom is trouble remembering recent events, such as a conversation that occurred minutes or hours ago, while difficulty remembering more distant memories occurs later in the disease. Other concerns like difficulty with walking or talking or personality changes also come later. Family history is the most important risk factor. Having a first-degree relative with Alzheimers disease increases the risk of developing it by 10 to 30 percent.
    • Vascular dementia. About 10 percent of dementia cases are linked to strokes or other issues with blood flow to the brain. Diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are also risk factors. Symptoms vary depending on the area and size of the brain impacted. The disease progresses in a step-wise fashion, meaning symptoms will suddenly get worse as the individual gets more strokes or mini-strokes.
    • Lewy body dementia. In addition to more typical symptoms like memory loss, people with this form of dementia may have movement or balance problems like stiffness or trembling. Many people also experience changes in alertness including daytime sleepiness, confusion or staring spells. They may also have trouble sleeping at night or may experience visual hallucinations .

    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.

    In addition, medical conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, and delirium can cause serious memory problems that resemble dementia, as can side effects of certain medicines.

    Researchers have also identified many other conditions that can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms. These conditions include:

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    What Is Dementia Symptoms Types And Diagnosis

    Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning thinking, remembering, and reasoning to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Some people with dementia cannot control their emotions, and their personalities may change. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of living.

    Dementia is more common as people grow older but it is not a normal part of aging. Many people live into their 90s and beyond without any signs of dementia.

    There are several different forms of dementia, including Alzheimers disease. A persons symptoms can vary depending on the type.

    What Happens During The Virtual Dementia Tour

    Would you like to know you have dementia?

    The Virtual Dementia Tour is an interactive training experience designed to enhance a participants understanding of dementia. People taking part in the experience will wear specially developed and patented equipment designed to make them feel and act like a person with dementia.

    Explaining the general reaction trainers see from participants during the experience, Knight said: The people will experience the frustration, anxiety, and sometimes sadness of dementia. Some people will be nervous or upset. Sometimes we get swearing, sometimes we get laughter.

    After the session, the trainers run a debrief session where delegates learn about the equipment, how it was developed, why it is used, and how it corresponds with dementia. The team will also explain things like temperature and reactions to different colours.

    During the experience, we talk about why people lose things, hide things, why people with dementia will urinate in unusual places. By taking part in the Virtual Dementia Tour, people can start to understand and appreciate the subtle changes that they have to make to not only improve the person living with dementias life but their own life too.

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    Behaviors: They’re Not Choosing Them But They Do Have Meaning

    Dont just write off a challenging behavior as if they were choosing to be difficult that day. Most often, theres a reason that they are acting the way they are. This can include becoming resistive because theyre in pain, being combative with care because theyre feeling anxious or paranoid, or wandering away because theyre restless and need some exercise. Take the time to work on figuring out why the behavior is there and how you can help the person, instead of first suggesting a psychoactive medication.

    Personal Stories: What Is It Like To Live With Dementia

    James Tomlinson in Bedford, EnglandIts just frightening. I get hallucinations where I think there are ghosts living in our garden. But my world seems to take on several dimensions. So I dont know which house Im in.

    Tommy Dunne in Liverpool, England might make sense inside your head but they dont make sense when they come out. The words come out and I think thats not what I wanted to say.

    Im a different person to the one my wife marriedI cant get through to the part of my brain that wants to her ask her how she is, give her a kiss and a cuddle.

    He says that people living with someone who has dementia must be prepared for when the dementia takes over. There will be days when we are angry, and days when we forget where we are in time. The more that you understand that its not the person with dementia that is angry with you, the more you will bear what is to come.

    Agnes Houston from Glasgow, ScotlandDementia is more than memory. My brain and body are so tired that I can hardly cook my dinner. But she cant sleep in: Something strange has been happening to me over the last four or five months. Im waking up so early in the morning.

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    How Accurate Is It

    This quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by licensed healthcare professionals.

    Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns arent legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.

    If you think you or someone you care about may be experiencing symptoms of dementia or any other mental health condition, Psycom.net strongly recommends that you seek help from a mental health professional in order to receive a proper diagnosis and support. For those in crisis, we have compiled a list of resources where you may be able to find additional help at: https://www.psycom.net/get-help-mental-health.

    Ten Tips For Communicating With A Person With Dementia

    Dementia Friendly Campaign – What Is It Like To Have Dementia? 3 of 11 videos

    We arenât born knowing how to communicate with a person with dementiaâbut we can learn. Improving your communication skills will help make caregiving less stressful and will likely improve the quality of your relationship with your loved one. Good communication skills will also enhance your ability to handle the difficult behavior you may encounter as you care for a person with a dementing illness.

  • Set a positive mood for interaction. Your attitude and body language communicate your feelings and thoughts more strongly than your words do. Set a positive mood by speaking to your loved one in a pleasant and respectful manner. Use facial expressions, tone of voice, and physical touch to help convey your message and show your feelings of affection.
  • Get the personâs attention. Limit distractions and noiseâturn off the radio or TV, close the curtains or shut the door, or move to quieter surroundings. Before speaking, make sure you have her attention address her by name, identify yourself by name and relation, and use nonverbal cues and touch to help keep her focused. If she is seated, get down to her level and maintain eye contact.
  • Listen with your ears, eyes, and heart. Be patient in waiting for your loved oneâs reply. If she is struggling for an answer, itâs okay to suggest words. Watch for nonverbal cues and body language, and respond appropriately. Always strive to listen for the meaning and feelings that underlie the words.
  • Read Also: Do Dementia Patients Tell The Truth

    The 7 Stages Of Dementia

    Alzheimers disease and other common forms of dementia including vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and frontotemporal dementia are progressive conditions, with symptoms worsening over time as the disease progresses. Learn more about the stages of dementia and what to expect from your loved one as dementia progresses.

    Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, Alzheimers disease and dementia are two different terms. Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe several conditions and it includes Alzheimers, as well as other conditions with shared symptoms. More than mere forgetfulness, an individual must have trouble with at least two of the following cognitive areas to be diagnosed with dementia:

    • Memory
    • Reasoning and judgment
    • Visual perception

    The assessment tools used to determine which stage of dementia a person is experiencing are meant to be a guide and a rough outline of what caregivers can expect and when they can expect it. Some symptoms may occur later than others, others may appear in a different order than the scale predicts, and some may not appear at all. Some symptoms may appear and then vanish, while others will continue to worsen over time. Because every person is different and dementia manifests itself uniquely, the speed at which dementia progresses varies widely. On average, a person with Alzheimers disease lives 4 to 8 years after a diagnosis, but some have been seen to live as long as 20 years.

    Common Forms Of Dementia

    There are many different forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form and may contribute to 60-70% of cases. Other major forms include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies , and a group of diseases that contribute to frontotemporal dementia . Dementia may also develop after a stroke or in the context of certain infections such as HIV, harmful use of alcohol, repetitive physical injuries to the brain or nutritional deficiencies. The boundaries between different forms of dementia are indistinct and mixed forms often co-exist.

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