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Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Senior Resource Center

What Is Dementia?

Dementia is a general term for the loss of memory and deterioration of other cognitive abilities. It’s a result of physical changes in the brain. Those with dementia can have a wide range of symptoms including trouble with logical reasoning, changes in personality, and the inability to perform activities of daily life.

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common cause of dementia. It’s a progressive, degenerative disease that causes parts of the brain to shrink. Over time, patients’ memory loss can go from mild to severe. And, in late-stage Alzheimer’s, the ability to carry conversations or even perform activities of daily life can be completely lost.

Other Common Types Of Dementia

Though Alzheimer’s disease is the most common, there are several other types of dementia to be aware of.

Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia is caused by brain damage resulting from decreased blood flow. It’s common in those who have suffered a stroke but can also occur as a result of blood clots or any other condition that damages blood vessels. Some symptoms of vascular dementia include:

  • Confusion and slowed thinking
  • Trouble with balance
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty with organization
  • Memory loss

Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s disease is a rare genetic condition caused by a defect in one of the 23 chromosomes in the human body. Huntington’s can begin manifestation as early as age 2, but usually between 30 and 50. Symptoms range from issues with movement to cognitive and psychiatric disorders. Some common symptoms of Huntington’s disease are:

  • Involuntary movements
  • Difficulty speaking or swallowing
  • Lack of self-awareness and impulse control
  • Issues with learning and retaining new information
  • Social withdrawal
  • Irritability or other changes in mood

Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA)

Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA) is a degenerative condition where the outer layer of the brain gradually deteriorates. This can result in visual and spatial difficulties as well as memory issues. Symptoms vary with each person, but some common examples are:

  • Difficulty with reading, spelling, or simple math
  • Having a hard time with depth perception
  • Confusion
  • Changes in normal behaviors and usual personality traits
  • Difficulty distinguishing between objects that are moving or stationary

Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy body dementia is a progressive disease that is defined by protein deposits that develop in nerve cells in the brain. Lewy body dementia affects a person’s thinking and reasoning, and over time, a person’s ability to live independently. Common symptoms are:

  • Poor judgment or unable to concentrate
  • Slowed mobility
  • Trouble with balance and coordination
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Changes in behavior and mood

Mixed Dementia

Mixed dementia is when symptoms present are typical of more than one type of dementia.

Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, you’re not alone! Here are some care options that can help.

Home Care

Home care includes a wide range of services and supports for seniors and their families. For those taking care of a loved one with dementia, home care can provide personalized care plans, supplemental companionship, and even increased safety measures.

Adult Day Care

Adult day care offers professional care, socialization, and enrichment opportunities for seniors and adults with disabilities. For those with memory care needs, adult day services can provide a safe environment for exercise, recreation, and so much more.

Residential Care

Many assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and other residential facilities offer memory care and respite.

Additional Resources

Alzheimer’s Association

National Institute on Aging

Alzheimer’s Disease International

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Articles

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Holding hands of Alzheimer's Disease patient

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