Dementia isn’t a specific disease. Instead, dementia describes a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social abilities severe enough to interfere with daily functioning. Dementia indicates problems with at least two brain functions, such as memory loss and impaired judgment or language, and inability to perform some daily activities such as paying bills or becoming lost while driving. There are several different types of dementia, now called Neurocognitive Disorders per DSM-5 guidelines. The most common types include:
Alzheimer’s Type Dementia
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, with a gradual onset and slow progression. Ninety five percent of Alzheimer’s cases are later on-set, meaning after the age of 65. Early symptoms include difficulty remembering names and recent events, apathy and depression. Alzheimer’s accounts for 60-80 percent of all dementia cases.
Vascular dementia often results from a series of tiny strokes. Symptoms may develop suddenly and include loss of bladder and bowel control, mask-like facial expressions and weakness or paralysis of one side. Difficulty with language and other intellectual abilities are often present as well. Vascular dementia accounts for 10-20 percent of all dementia cases.
Lewy Bodies Dementia
Dementia with Lewy Bodies shares characteristics with both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases in that protein deposits are found throughout the brain in both instances. Attention problems, hallucinations, motor problems (shuffling gait, poor balance, stooped posture) are common. People often experience vivid dreams and sleep disturbance. These symptoms often precede any trouble with memory. Often there are fluctuations in alertness at various times of day. Lewy Bodies accounts for 5-15 percent of all dementia cases.
Frontotemporal dementia affects the front and side of the brain and usually starts between the ages of 40 and 75. This type of dementia progresses a lot more rapidly than Alzheimer’s. There are several forms and causes – characteristics often involve personality changes, problems with language, bizarre behavior such as reckless spending, making inappropriate comments or repetitive behaviors. Frontotemporal dementia accounts for 5 percent of all dementia cases.
Dementia is a progressive degeneration of the brain – the ability to learn new information is lost and the ability to recognize common objects and, eventually, familiar people is lost.
Home Health Care, Inc. has a staff of caregivers—nurses, therapists and home health aides—who have experience working with dementia patients. We can create customized home care plans for you based on your needs. Rely on us to bring you the peace of mind you deserve by assisting you during a challenging health care situation. Call us at 763-417-8888 to learn more.