Senior Resources » Understanding Different Types of Dementia

Understanding Different Types of Dementia

Dementia is a general term that refers to an impairment in memory, decision-making, and other cognitive functions (according to the CDC). While it can be daunting for seniors and their families, knowledge truly is power. Understanding this condition is the first step in learning how to face its many challenges. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of dementia.


Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. In fact, studies show that it accounts for up to 60% of all cases. While no cure for Alzheimer’s exists just yet, early detection and intervention can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Symptoms may include:

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Poor judgment or impaired decision-making
  • No sense of initiative
  • Impaired sense of time or location
  • Losing or placing things in odd places
  • Getting lost
  • Mood or personality changes
  • Increased aggression

Although Alzheimer’s can be a slow, progressive disease, it’s important to seek professional help sooner rather than later. Changes can be made to one’s home environment in order to improve quality of life. While there’s no known cure for Alzheimer’s, there are FDA-approved medications that may make the symptoms more manageable.


Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia is caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain, often as a result of strokes or other conditions that damage blood vessels. Often comorbid with other types of dementia, only 5 to 10 percent of dementia sufferers have vascular dementia alone. Unfortunately, this type of dementia may be underdiagnosed. Symptoms may include:

  • Trouble with solving problems
  • Decreased ability to plan and organize
  • Trouble speaking
  • Poor balance or difficulty walking
  • Numbness or paralysis on one side of the face or body

Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy body dementia affects both movement and cognitive abilities. Over 1 million people in the United States alone suffer from this condition. Additionally, it may affect men more than women. While this type of dementia can be difficult to diagnose, it’s important to recognize the symptoms. Some of those may include:

  • Visual hallucinations
  • Tremors
  • Problems with balance and coordination
  • Memory problems that worsen with time

Frontotemporal Dementia

As the name implies, this type of dementia affects the temporal lobes of the brain. Symptoms can include:

  • Changes in personality, behavior, and language skills
  • Problems with planning and organization
  • Difficulty completing tasks
  • Disinterest in family, friends, or social activities
  • Saying or doing inappropriate things

Mixed Dementia

lonely senior woman sitting on a couch

Mixed dementia is a term used to describe a combination of different types of dementia. Symptoms vary widely, depending on which types of dementia are present. Treatment often involves strategies meant to manage both conditions and support the senior’s overall health and well-being.


What to Do If You Think a Senior Loved One is Developing Dementia

hugging grandma

If you suspect that a senior loved one is developing dementia, it’s crucial to approach the situation with dignity, compassion, and respect. Here are some tips:

  • Talk openly and honestly with your loved one about your concerns.
  • Encourage your loved one to see a doctor.
  • Offer support and assistance with daily activities if needed.
  • Consider joining a support group to learn effective communication strategies, coping skills, and self-care practices
  • Educate yourself and your family about the disease, its progression, and available resources for care and support.

Early diagnosis and intervention can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life for both seniors and their families. Understanding the different types of dementia and their associated symptoms can help you be proactive in seeking support and care for your loved one. With the right resources and a supportive network, seniors with dementia can maintain their dignity, independence, and sense of purpose for years to come.

Looking for more?

Want to read more great articles? Then check out our Health and Wellness blog!

Popular Articles About Alzheimer's and Dementia

Originally published June 02, 2023


Free Senior Resources

Ultimate Guide to Retirement Communities

The Ultimate Guide to Retirement Communities

Get The Guide
5 Health conditions e-book cover

5 Health Conditions That Affect Baby Boomers and 5 Ways to Avoid Them

Get The Guide
ultimate estate planning checklist and guide

Ultimate Estate Planning Checklist & Guide

Get The Guide

Guide to Adult Day Care

Get The Guide
Show this content while the ad loads.