What Is Early Onset Dementia
The term early onset dementia refers to dementia that first occurs in a person under age 65. The dementia may be caused by Alzheimer’s disease or other diseases and conditions. 1 People who have early onset dementia may be in any stage of dementia early, middle, or late. New data from the Health and Retirement Study.
What Happens In The Later Stages Of Dementia
- Progressive loss of memoryThis can be a particularly disturbing time for family and carers as the person with dementia may fail to recognise close family members.
- Increased loss of physical abilitiesMost people with dementia gradually lose their ability to walk, wash, dress and feed themselves. Other illnesses such as stroke or arthritis may also affect them. Eventually the person will be confined to a bed or a chair.
- Increased difficulty communicatingA person with dementia will have increasing difficulty in understanding what is said or what is going on around them. They may gradually lose their speech, or repeat a few words or cry out from time to time. But continuing to communicate with them is very important. Remember, although many abilities are lost as dementia progresses, some – such as the sense of touch and ability to respond to emotions – remain.
- Problems eatingIt is common for people in the later stages of dementia to lose a considerable amount of weight. People may forget how to eat or drink, or may not recognise the food they are given. Some people become unable to swallow properly. Providing nutrition supplements may need to be considered. If a person has swallowing difficulties, or is not consuming food or drink over a significant period of time and their health is affected, nutrition supplements may be considered for consumption other than by mouth.
Stage : Severe Cognitive Declinemoderately Severe Dementia
At this stage, the ability to perform basic activities of daily life becomes compromised. Functionally, five successive substages are identifiable. Persons initially in stage 6a, in addition to having lost the ability to choose their clothing without assistance, begin to require assistance in putting on their clothing properly. Unless supervised, the person with Alzheimers disease may put their clothing on backward, they may have difficulty putting their arm in the correct sleeve, or they may dress in the wrong sequence.
The total duration of the stage of moderately severe Alzheimers disease is approximately 2.5 years in otherwise healthy persons.
At approximately the same point in the evolution of AD, but generally just a little later in the temporal sequence, AD persons lose the ability to bathe without assistance . Characteristically, the earliest and most common deficit in bathing is difficulty adjusting the temperature of the bath water. Once the caregiver adjusts the temperature of the bath water, the AD person can still potentially otherwise bathe independently. As this stage evolves, additional deficits occur in bathing and dressing independently. In this 6b substage, AD persons generally develop deficits in other modalities of daily hygiene such as properly brushing their teeth.
Stages 6c, 6d, 6e
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Watch Our Talk The Last Stage Of Alzheimers: What You Need To Know With Jasja Kotterman And Dr Liz Sampson Of University College London:
And then one day, the spell broke. She was hungry and thirsty, and drank and even ate and chewed, slowly, but with relish. And we gave her as much as we dared without causing her to choke. The doctor told us we would have many more months with her if she kept eating. It was a relief to hear this, and we had a few good daysso good that I planned to go back home, my sister made plans to head back to work, and my father planned to visit friends in France. We would keep in touch and be ready to come back as soon as things got worse again.
But worse came the following day. The doctor called saying my mother had developed a lung infection. She must have choked on something on one of the good days, some water, some food had entered her lungs and triggered a lung infection.
Learning To Give Full Attention
Care staff will need to allow themselves the time to sit beside a person and to be as fully present as they can. It is all too easy to be distracted, to be thinking about the next job that needs to be done and not to be focused fully on the here and now relationship. One volunteer visitor in a care home said the most important thing she offered was sitting down with residents, showing that she is here to stay rather than just hovering to get away.
Many people with dementia will sense when we are not fully present and are less likely to connect with us in any meaningful way if this is the case. If we are not paying full attention we might also miss simple movements or sounds from the person attempting to communicate something.
If you are going to sit with a person with dementia for longer than a few moments, consider the following: Your colleagues will need to know that you going to spend say 10 to 15 minutes in the persons room and should not be called away to another resident or task. You may want to take a book to read out to the person or a piece of music to play or perhaps something that you can do in front of the person such as folding towels. Make sure you are in the eye line of the person if they are lying in bed or staring in a particular direction.
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How Dementia Seems To Come And Go
In one study, charts of dementia patients were reviewed during a two-year period. The researcher scanned the charts for mentions of good days and bad days. The most common characteristics? Most of the patients lived with their caregivers . Most were recently diagnosed with mild dementia. About half were taking cholinesterase inhibitors, a category of drugs used to treat Alzheimers. Good days most often involved enhanced mood, better concentration and improved ability to perform IADLs . Bad days were characterized by increased verbal repetition, anger, irritability, forgetfulness, delusions and declining mood.
Causes And Risk Factors
Did you know that dementia is not a normal part of getting older? It’s true. Old ageâby itselfâdoes not cause dementia. However, old age is one of the top risk factors for dementia since most people who suffer from it are older than 60. But as you’ll see, there are at least 20 potential causes of dementia, which should be more accurately referred to as risk factors. For most types of dementia, the root cause remains somewhat of a mystery. Plus, what causes dementia in one person may differ from what causes it in someone else.
For now, the best that researchers can say is that a wide range of medical, genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors may cause Alzheimer’s or dementia of other types. But the genetic component brings up a good question: Is dementia hereditary? Here’s the answer: It depends. Most forms of dementia are not hereditaryâat least not in any direct way. Most dementia patients don’t have any parents or grandparents who had the condition. However, some rare forms of dementia can be passed on to children or grandchildren. They include:
None of the following risk factors guarantee that a person will get dementia, but they can make it more likely. Here are some of the biggest factors worth knowing about:
- Heart disease
- Low educational attainment
- Excessive exposure to certain chemicals or minerals
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Get A Carer’s Assessment
If you care for someone, you can have an assessment to see what might help make your life easier. This is called a carer’s assessment.
A carer’s assessment might recommend things like:
- someone to take over caring so you can take a break
- training in how to lift safely
- help with housework and shopping
- putting you in touch with local support groups so you have people to talk to
A carer’s assessment is free and anyone over 18 can ask for one.
Caring For A Person With Late
If you are caring at home for someone who is in the later stages of dementia the Aged Care Assessment Team can help with advice and referrals for all aspects of care. You can contact your nearest ACAT by calling the number listed in the Age Page of your telephone directory. Your doctor or hospital can also help you to contact your local ACAT.
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What Its Like Losing Your Mom To Dementia
Living with the emotional side of caregiving is just as hard, if not harder, than managing the physical tasks. Our friends at Kindly Care
Lots of people talk about the practical complications of dementia and Alzheimers, but few have addressed the true cost of these diseases to friends and family: effectively losing a person you love and rely on. For Cassandra Jones, that meant seeing her mother Deana diagnosed with semantic dementia at just 50 years old slowly drift away.
Dementia is a progressive disease, and the medically-accepted stages dont always arrive one after another. In fact, those living with dementia often slip in and out, lucid one moment and unaware of their surroundings the next.
In the beginning, she used to say things like oh my brain is so stupid, oh I used to be so smart, and that just really makes you feel so sad because I know what a smart woman she was, Cassandra added. She was such a wonderful teacher.
Now, Cassandra with help from her sister, father, and volunteers from their church provides daily care for Deana that even includes helping her shower.
It makes me wonder, how much does she know right now? Does she realize whats happened to her?
Cassandra has a young family of her own, and not having her mom around as a sounding board has been particularly rough.
Because Im younger and Im just starting out with my family, there are a lot of times when I have questions and I need motherly advice. I just want a mom to talk to.
How Can Healthcare Professionals Help At This Stage
Healthcare professionals can explain these changes so you understand what is happening.
Healthcare professionals can also take steps to reduce the persons pain or distress, often using medication.
If the person cant swallow, then medication can be provided through patches on the skin, small injections or syringe pumps that provide a steady flow of medication through a small needle under the persons skin. Speak to a GP or another health professional about this.
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Making The Decision About A Care Home
Eventually the day came that I had to make the decision to put Mum in residential care.
She had become increasingly impaired to the point it was no longer safe for her to live at home.
She had forgotten how to use the shower. Her oven had dust on it she had forgotten how to use it, and most often would forget to eat. I put in a hot meals service to try and navigate this issue, but Mum would either be out when they delivered her food, or she would place the foil containers on the side and forget all about them.
She would walk about constantly and then get lost. She took to withdrawing thousands of pounds from her bank account with her pin number written on the back of the card. I would finish work and have fifteen missed calls from her neighbours telling me that she, again, had been brought home by a member of the public, completely disorientated.
Stage : Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline
Stage 5 is when your loved one is likely to need help with routine tasks, like dressing or bathing. They may require a home caregiver or to move to a memory care community. Other symptoms include:
- Memory loss of personal details and current events
- Reduced mental acuity and problem-solving ability
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Patients And Caregivers Left In The Lurch
Faced with such alarming figures, Italy has done far too little. Patients and families face multiple problems. Theres no real care, there arent enough services for patients and theres no information on those services that are available, says Spadin. Centres specialising in dementia are few in number and poorly distributed throughout the country. It often takes 12 to 14 months from the time the first symptoms are reported before a diagnosis is made. By this stage, the specialist centres can do little more than prescribe medication and carry out routine check-ups every four or six months.
Associations are criticising the absence of a national strategy for dealing with the disease. We have 20 different regional systems. Someone who falls ill in Sicily will receive less aid than they would in Lombardy. This is unacceptable. Once families have begun the long and complicated process of diagnosis, they are left to bear the burden of the disease on their own, says Mario Possenti, secretary general of Federazione Alzheimer Italia.
Italys National Dementia Plan, a public health document that provides strategic guidelines for improving care in the dementia sector, was first passed in 2014 but languished for years with no funding. Finally, in late 2020, 15 million was allocated to the plan over a three-year period. We are finally getting some good news, but its still a pittance compared to the enormous costs of the disease, says Possenti.
What I Wish I Knew Before My Mothers Alzheimers Death
As with many Alzheimers patients, it was the family who suggested my mother get her memory tested. She was 68 years old, repeating herself, losing things and occasionally paranoid and combative with my father, something we had never seen from her before. We thought she might be depressed, but the notion that she might have dementia crossed our minds. She was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, the earliest stage of forgetfulness, in 2008, but was not officially given the diagnosis of Alzheimers until 2010, when she had an epileptic seizure. After that, her memory and cognitive faculties deteriorated sharply.
This is not the story of an Alzheimers patient swinging between the ignorance of their forgetfulness and the panic of watching their own ongoing decline come into focus, nor the story of the fear, the bouts of irritability, and the deep sorrow felt by family members watching their loved one slowly disappear before their eyes. We went through all that, yes. But this is the story of the last three excruciating months of my mothers life. She died in her familys arms at the age of 76, having battled Alzheimers bravely for more than eight years.
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How To Minimize Urinary Incontinence
There are many ways to minimize urinary incontinence. The solution for each individual will depend on the cause, or causes, in their unique case.
A multi-pronged approach, tailor-fit to their situation, will likely be most effective.
Locate the Toilet
Placing signs, or a trail of masking tape on the floor, to help the person find the toilet may help.
Sometimes pictures are easier for the person to understand than written words.
Keep the light on in the bathroom, or place a portable commode, or urinal, at the bedside to help someone who has trouble finding the bathroom during the night.
Replace Troublesome Clothing
Elastic waistbands can make toileting easier for those who have difficulty managing buttons or zippers.
Watch for Non-Verbal Clues
Pay attention to the persons non-verbal communication. Even if they cant always articulate that they need the bathroom, people often show outward behavioral signs.
Common signs of needing the restroom include:
- Fidgeting with or removing clothing
- Pacing, wandering or going in and out of different rooms
- Peering around frantically
One of the best ways to minimize incontinence is to develop a personalized toileting plan based on the persons needs.
Initially, the plan may be as simple and informal as reminding the person to use the bathroom before leaving the house.
Over time, the frequency and amount of oversight or assistance may increase.
Remind or assist them regularly just before they are likely to need it.
Dementia Stages: How Fast Dementia Progresses Stages Of Dementia And More
Dementia is a progressive impairment of cognitive function caused by damage to the brain. Over time, a person with dementia will have increased difficulty with memory, understanding, communication, and reasoning.
Healthcare providers frequently speak about a persons dementia in terms of stages. This can be helpful for communicating with family or other healthcare providers regarding the persons illness, and it is important for determining an appropriate care plan.
How Fast Does Dementia Progress?
It is important to note that dementia progresses at different speeds for every person, and for different types of dementia. The most well-known form of dementia, Alzheimers disease, is just one specific type of dementia, and tends to have the slowest progression of all types. Some factors that affect the rate of progression include:
- Repeated infections
What are the Stages of Dementia?
There are a few different systems used to grade dementia — at the most basic there is early, moderate, and end. Many providers use the system developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg of New York University which includes 7 stages. The Reisberg scale is also known as the GDS or Global Deterioration Scale for Assessment of Primary Degenerative Dementia. This scale focuses primarily on cognitive abilities.
Dementia Stages in the Reisberg Scale
Dementia Stages in the FAST Scale
Dementia Stages in the CDR Scale
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