The Top Five Dementia Medications For Seniors
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Dementia is a common disease seen in older adults, affecting over 50 million people around the world, according to the World Health Organization . But, it is not a normal part of aging. Examples of typical memory loss experienced by people of all ages include occasionally forgetting but later remembering events, names, and phone numbers. When memory loss becomes disruptive to your daily life, it might be time to see your medical team about your cognitive health and discuss possible medications to help combat the symptoms of dementia, as well as check for physical signs of Alzheimers disease and related dementias.
Through careful research, we have created this guide to educate you on Alzheimers disease and related dementias, the top dementia medications as well as less-targeted dementia medications that can be useful in treating symptoms, and alternative options you might want to discuss with you or your loved ones doctor.
Mental Cognitive Status Tests
These are usually conducted to evaluate memory, simple problem-solving abilities, and thinking.
The tests can be BRIEF or COMPLEX and intensive depending on what the doctor wants to achieve.
Complex tests are offered by professional neuropsychologists to evaluate judgment, executive function, language, and attention.
Compassionate Care For Patients With Memory Loss
Watching a loved one experience memory loss is challenging, and the journey can be emotionally taxing for both you and the person going through it. While this is difficult, it is important to keep in mind that living with memory loss does not mean living in misery. A cure for dementia and Alzheimers may not yet be available, but we have come a long way in making life easier and more comfortable for those who go through it.
Our compassionate team of medical professionals provide comprehensive care and treatments for patients with memory loss. In addition to caring for the patient, we are also here to help their loved ones with counseling and referrals to community resources. We know this is a difficult time for all involved, and our goal is to help your entire family through it.
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When You Cant Be There
There may be times when you canât go to a doctor visit with your loved one and someone else takes them. If this happens, youâll want to be sure that you find out how it went.
Ask the person whoâll be with your loved one to take notes. They should write down the name and phone number of someone to call if you have questions. Also, have them ask the doctor for written instructions about any changes in care.
If needed, call the nurse or doctor after the appointment to get a report on how the visit went.
Your Best Choice May Not Be Your Family Doctor
Although a preliminary diagnosis may begin with your primary care doctor, theyll most likely refer you to a specialist. Some people express a preference to continue seeing their family doctor because its someone they know and trust. Others may feel disheartened by their diagnosis and question the use of seeing a specialist.
Thats an understandable concern, but misinformed. New research is published every month about findings in Alzheimers treatment. Although scientists havent yet found a cure, they have uncovered much that is helpful for people who have been diagnosed.
Dementia is a rapidly developing area of study, and its likely that the family doctor wont be as up to date with the latest information. This may be especially true in the case of early onset Alzheimers, where symptoms and treatment are less well-known among most regular doctors.
Seeing a specialist will ensure your loved one benefits from the most recent therapies and medications.
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Memory Loss Or Dementia
In short, dementia, whatever the type, is characterized by various symptoms like memory losses, learning difficulties, language troubles, confusion, mood and personality changes, bad decisions, difficulty in thinking, depression, loss of interest for some activities, etc. Thus, we cant only consider memory disorders to determine if a parent is affected by Alzheimers disease or another type of dementia. In fact, cognitive problems associated with memory may, sometimes, have another origin, like drugs interaction, drinking alcohol, depression, thyroid problems or a lack of vitamins.
If you think one of your parents suffers from Alzheimer of dementia, it is better to visit a doctor, specialized in geriatrics for example. Tell them about the behaviours and troubles that seem to touch the concerned person, in this way the doctor will be able to determine if it actually is dementia, and what type it is. Then they will direct you towards adapted treatments or approaches.
About Visavie Home Care Services
Since 1994, Visavie offers seniors in-home care services to preserve their autonomy and especially, continue to take advantage of the comfort of their home.
Besides, researches have shown that for a person with Alzheimers disease, remaining in a familiar surrounding helps manage the challenges related to memory loss.
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.
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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.
Can Dementia Suddenly Get Worse
The progression of dementia depends on the underlying disease. Some diseases have a rapid progression. Others progress more slowly. Any sudden change with either slow or rapid progression should be evaluated for another cause. In most cases, changes with dementia may seem like they came out of the blue when they actually may have been slowly developing in the background. The best way to prepare for changes and manage expectations is through information. Your doctor and medical team will be a valuable resource. There are a variety of educational resources that are also available through the Alzheimer’s Association.
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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.
Memory Tests Doctors Use For Dementia
The idea that your memory might be slipping is a scary one indeed. Its not always accurate, however, and there are memory tests that doctors can use to test whether its actually happening or not.
A certain amount of forgetfulness is normal as we grow older. We may forget someones name or fail to pay a bill. Such memory lapses are mild and usually a normal part of aging. We have all had instances of losing track of our keys and not remembering the name of the movie we saw last month.
For me, Ive always been great with peoples faces, but their names, or even worse dates forget about it .
There are, however, more serious signs that our short-term memory is failing and that we need to discuss the situation with a doctor. How do we tell the difference?
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How To Diagnose Alzheimers Vs Dementia
Alzheimers is a progressive and fatal brain disorder. Dementia is not a specific disease, but an umbrella term that defines a syndrome and used to refer to a specific group of symptoms related to a decline in mental ability. Alzheimers is one of the most common causes of dementia. Both Alzheimers and dementia are diagnosed using a variety of different assessments and tests, including a physical exam, lab tests, cognitive and neuropsychological tests, and an analysis of changes in behavior.
How Does A Doctor Test For Alzheimers
When you see a doctor regarding memory loss, they will conduct a series of tests to determine the symptoms and causes of the changes in your behavior. These tests are not an exact science yet, but they will help the doctor develop an overall picture of your brain health. You should take these tests as soon as possible to receive the best treatment and plan for the future. When in doubt as to whether to see the doctor, it is best to lean on the side of caution.
Your doctor will not rely on one or two test results alone. There are several diagnostic tools that he or she will use to pinpoint any memory loss problems.
The first thing any doctor will do is get your complete medical history, including any medication you are taking. This data will include your familys medical history as well to determine any genetic risks.
This history gathering will be following by laboratory tests to eliminate any causes of the memory loss, such as thyroid problems, diabetes and kidney issues, and faulty drug interactions. These lab tests usually involve blood and urine tests, and the taking of vital signs. The doctor will have a thorough discussion about lifestyle and habits.
As a final option, the doctor will suggest and/or perform cognitive tests.
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What Causes Dementia To Progress So Quickly
Dementia symptoms are typically mild at first and progress over time to moderate and then severe, over several years. The speed as which dementia progresses varies between individuals, but some factors can cause dementia to progress more quickly. These include the persons age, the type of dementia, and other long term health problems. Dementia tends to progress more slowly in people over 65 compared to younger people below 65.
Learn About Neurology Specialists
Though many primary care physicians are able to make an initial diagnosis of dementia and provide basic care for memory-impairing diseases, working with a specialist in brain disorders and taking advantage of the physicians more extensive experience is a necessity for more thorough treatment. According to Dr. Piero G. Antuono, Silverado Brookfield Medical Director, those seeking the most thorough treatment and care of dementia are best served by consulting doctors with formal training and experience in geriatrics, neurology or psychiatry.
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Why Does Dementia Occur
Alzheimers is far and away the leading causeit accounts for about two-thirds of all late-onset dementia . Other disorders and diseases account for the rest. And why Alzheimers disease occurs is an unending and, perhaps, philosophical question. For example, you could ask, What are the changes in the brain that precede and are associated with the onset of symptoms? But then you would also have to ask why those occur. And so on. You could also ask: âWhat predisposes certain people to get Alzheimers disease?â The greatest risk factor is age. Among U.S. men and women ages 65 to 75, about 3% have Alzheimers for ages 75 to 85, between 10 to 15% live with the disease and for those older than 85, approximately 35% have it.
So, why is age a risk factor? We dont fully knowand thats a big area of current research. The second most important risk factor is family history and genetics: The major genetic risk factor is called apolipoprotein E4 , which might account for up to 40% of the risk. But why is APOE4 a risk factor? Again, we dont fully know. A nonhereditary risk factor is previous head injuries. And, of course, there is much ongoing research about lifestyle, including diet and exercise. So, theres not a clear-cut answer on why dementia occurs.
Not All Dementia Specialists Are Trained In Neurology
A specialist may know more than the family doctor about the latest research in Alzheimers, but there are still several types to choose from. The family doctor may refer you to any of the following, based on your loved ones unique set of circumstances:
- Behavioral neurologist
Note that not all the above are trained in neurology.
Psychologists and geriatricians are not required to earn certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Psychiatrists and neurologists must earn this certification by demonstrating a thorough knowledge of neurology, among other topics.
Thats why any of these professionals may offer help but only the last twothe neurologistswill have a high level of expertise about the inner workings of the brain.
Neurologists are trained to detect subtleties of the brain that cause memory problems. Only they can conduct a thorough neurological exam and recommend subsequent treatment for brain disorders such as Alzheimers.
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Importance Of Getting An Early Diagnosis
Some people may be reluctant to go to the doctor when they notice problems they may wonder if theres any point in getting a diagnosis for a disease that has no cure. Or maybe they worry about losing their independence or fear not being able to care for themselves.
Today there is no cure for Alzheimers disease, but there are benefits to early detection.
To start with, the medications currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Adminsitration are more likely to be helpful early in the disease process.
Early intervention can delay progression to dementia if you have mild cognitive impairment, says , director of Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas. We know that you can actually slow the rate of progression of the disease with aggressive multitargeted interventions, including traditional pharmacological therapies and lifestyle interventions, and we also give mild patients early access to clinical trials and research, Dr. Sabbagh adds.
For many, getting a diagnosis can also be a relief. In my experience, the vast majority of patients want to understand what is going on, says Jonathan Graff-Radford, MD, a behavioral neurologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Its important to get a diagnosis as soon as you can so you can make plans for what might happen in the future, Dr. Graff-Radford adds.
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Trouble following or joining a conversation
Treatment For Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimers disease is a chronic, progressive condition, meaning there is no cure, though medication can help to slow the progression of symptoms such as memory loss and confusion and preserve a persons ability to perform everyday tasks. Our specialists also work to ensure that family members and caregivers receive the support they need.
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When Is Memory Loss A Problem
Do you keep asking the same questions over and over? Are you having difficulty following easy, simple instructions, such as how to put together a recipe? Do you keep becoming more and more mixed up over people and places.
Alzheimers Disease, as we all know, can lead to memory loss, but not all memory loss is linked to Alzheimers and related dementias. And, in some cases, it can be treated once the cause has been found.
Types Of Tests For Dementia
The first type of tests are called mental status scales.
These are short bedside tests administered by the doctor that assess memory and other cognitive domains.
They provide a score, which is used to distinguish people with normal vs. impaired cognition and even screen for mild cognitive impairment .
Examples of the most widely used include the Montreal Cognitive Assessment and the Mini-Mental State Examination .
These are screening tests, meaning they are not diagnostic of any particular dementia or diagnosis, but when abnormal definitely can hint that cognition is impaired.
Moreover, these tests can be repeated over time to track the progression of the disease as well.
These tests assess memory, language, executive function, visuospatial skills, and attention/concentration.
The MMSE is scored on a 30 point scale. Specific items include orientation , memory , attention/concentration , language , and visuospatial function . A score of < 23 is abnormal and indicates cognitive impairment.
Note: you can find only MMSE test here.
The MOCA is also scored on a 30 point scale.
It assesses delayed word recall/memory , visuospatial function , language , attention/concentration , and orientation . A score of < 25 is abnormal and indicates significant cognitive impairment.
Note: you can also access MOCA test online.
Another similar test is the Saint Louis University Mental Status Examination which is scored similarly.
Alternative shorter tests
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