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Our Dementia Guide

The main cause of Dementia is the deterioration of brain function, which affects memory (forgetfulness), concentration, reasoning and even motor skills. Dementia types are often named according to the condition that has caused the dementia Dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms will gradually get worse.

How fast dementia progresses will depend on the individual person and what type of dementia they have. Each person is unique and will experience dementia in their own way. It is often the case that the person’s family and friends are more concerned about the symptoms than the person may be themselves.

Here Is A List Of The Most Common Forms Of Diagnosed Dementia

 Alzheimer’s Disease

  • The most common cause of Dementia. During the course of the disease the chemistry and structure of the brain change, leading to the death of brain cells. Problems of short-term memory are usually the first noticeable sign.

 Vascular Disease

  • The most common cause of dementia. During the course of the disease the chemistry and structure of the brain change, leading to the death of brain cells. Problems of short-term memory are usually the first noticeable sign.

 Dementia With Lewy bodies (or Pick’s Disease)

  • This form of dementia gets its name from tiny abnormal structures that develop inside nerve cells. Their presence in the brain leads to the degeneration of brain tissue. Symptoms can include disorientation and hallucinations, as well as problems with planning, reasoning and problem solving. Memory may be affected to a lesser degree. This form of dementia shares some characteristics with Parkinson’s disease.

 Fronto-Temporal Dementia

  • In fronto-temporal dementia, damage is usually focused in the front part of the brain. At first, personality and behaviour changes are the most obvious signs.

 Korsakoff’s Syndrome

 Mild Cognitive Impairment

There are many other rarer diseases that may lead to dementia, including progressive supranuclear palsy, Binswanger’s disease, HIV/AIDS, and Creutzfeldt−Jakob disease (CJD). Some people with multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease may also develop dementia as a result of disease progression.

Alzheimers Disease

Is a slowly progressive disease of the brain that is characterized by impairment of memory and eventually by disturbances in reasoning, planning, language, and perception. It is believed this results from an increase in the production or accumulation of a specific protein (beta-amyloid protein) in the brain that leads to nerve cell death.

Alzheimer’s disease may affect 50% of persons over the age of 85 and the probability of having Alzheimer’s increases substantially after the age of 70. Ten percent of people over 65 years of age have Alzheimer’s disease.

As the UK population ages, the frequency of Alzheimer’s disease increases. The number of individuals with the disease in the UK is expected to be 1.7 million by the year 2050. Currently there are around 400,000 people suffering from Alzheimer’s.

The onset of Alzheimer’s disease is usually gradual, and it is slowly progressive. Memory problems that family members initially dismiss as “a normal part of aging” are in retrospect noted by the family to be the first stages of Alzheimer’s disease. When memory and other problems with thinking start to consistently affect the usual level of functioning; families begin to suspect that something more than “normal aging” is going on.

Problems of memory, particularly for recent events (short-term memory) are common early in the course of Alzheimer’s disease. Mild personality changes, such as less spontaneity, apathy, and a tendency to withdraw from social interactions, may occur early in the illness.

As the disease progresses, problems in abstract thinking and in other intellectual functions develop. The person may begin to have trouble with figures when working on bills, with understanding what is being read, or with organising the day’s work. Further disturbances in behaviour and appearance may also be seen at this point, such as agitation, irritability, quarrelsomeness, and a diminishing ability to dress appropriately.

Individuals who exhibit several of the following symptoms should see their GP for a complete evaluation, Memory loss, Difficulty performing familiar tasks, Problems with language, Disorientation to time and place, Poor or decreased judgment, Problems with abstract thinking, Misplacing things, Changes in mood or behaviour, Changes in personality or Loss of initiative.

Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia is not a single disease but a group of syndromes relating to different vascular mechanisms. The distinction between vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s dementia is becoming increasingly blurred because vascular risk factors play a role in both diseases.

Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia. One year after a stroke, 25% of patients develop new-onset dementia. Within four years following a stroke, the relative risk of incident dementia is 5.5%. The prevalence of vascular dementia is higher in men than in women.

Early signs of probable vascular dementia onset would be, difficulty in walking or change in one’s gait, unsteadiness and a tendency for unprovoked falls, bladder symptoms without any diagnosed urological conditions, change in emotions, such as the onset of depression or aggression, hallucinations or lucid periods.

Dementia With Lewy Bodies

Dementia with Lewy bodies clinically overlaps both Alzheimers and Parkinson’s Disease, but is generally more associated with Parkinson’s. This is due to the effects that Dementia with Lewy bodies has on both cognitive (memory) and motor control (muscular movement).

It’s distinction is that where Alzheimer’s can be quite gradual it is usually a rapid onset with especially rapid decline in the first few months. Early signs of probable Dementia with Lewy bodies onset would be, fluctuating cognition with varying attention and alertness both day to day and sometimes hour to hour, recurrent visual hallucinations, motor degradation as features in Parkinson’s disease (shuffling gait, blank expression, stiffness of movement) although the tremors associated with Parkinson’s are generally less common.

We understand the need for a relaxed, calm and stable environment as it is often changes in the environment that can cause the most effect on the behavior of the suffer.

Frontotemporal Dementia

Frontotemporal dementia is a clinical syndrome caused by the degeneration of the frontal lobe of the brain. It is the second most common early-onset dementia after Alzheimer’s Disease.

Symptoms of the disease can generally be broken down into two groups which underlie the functions of the front part of the brain. The frontal lobe of the brain controls our behaviour and how we plan and organise our daily routines. With the onset of frontotemporal dementia the sufferer will generally show signs of lethargy (i.e. unwillingness to get out of bed, wash or look after themselves) or conversely disinhibition, i.e. where the sufferer can be prone to making explicit outbursts or performing inappropriate acts (such as theft or showing disregard for their actions in front of others). In some cases untoward aggression can also develop and cause problems as it has to be remembered that this is a physical disease that the sufferer has no control of, yet can cause the primary carer to become disillusioned with being able to provide the support that is required from them.

Often the sufferers use of language is affected, not simply in regard to outbursts or swearing, but also with difficulty with naming and word comprehension. Others may find it difficult to speak fluenty and have difficult articulating themselves, whilst some will find that they ‘over explain’ themselves, using many words to describe a simple task.

It’s important to understand the disease and help to evaluate what causes specific behavioural changes in the person so that they can be avoided, thus lessing the chances of having an episode. We understand the need to work with the person rather than against them, developing coping strategies to help work around the issue rather than trying to change it (and potentially cause further unrest).

We know how difficult it can be to help care for those afflicted with such a disease, but with our expertise and patience we hope to allow all our residents to continue to enjoy their daily life.

Korsakoff Syndrome

Korsakoff syndrome is a neurological disorder caused by a lack of thiamine (or vitamin B₁ as it is otherwise known). Whilst the cause of this deficiency can be due to severe malnutrition, the general and most common cause in the Western world would be that of chronic alcoholism. Hence Korsakoff Syndrome can often be associated as alcoholic dementia.

Korsakoff syndrome manifests primarily effecting the sufferers memory function, they will experience different levels of amenesia as well as creating ‘truths’ of their own to fill in these blackouts. They’ll generally show signs of apathy and a lack of insight with little appetite for conversation.

We hope to care for those suffering from Korsakoff by providing a secure environment for them and creating a specific care plan that ensures they are receiving the required nutriment to help balance and stabalise their condition.

Mild Cognitive Impairment

Mild cognitive impairment is a diagnosis given to people who are having problems with their memory (or cognitive impairments) that aren’t expected at their current age group. It is generally considered as a transitional stage that at some point may very well lead on to a type of dementia.

The conversion rate to Alzheimer’s is 10-20 per cent each year, so a diagnosis does not always mean that the person will go on to develop dementia.

This impairment can be managed in such a way that the conditions can be improved or at least remain stable and therefore not develop into dementia. We try to help those with by promoting well being in our residents, ensuring that they at least try and perform some light exercise or complete crossword puzzles or other games as these have been shown in studies to help combat the onset of dementia.

Unfortunately, at this time, there is no cure for Dementia or it’s related diseases. There are several medications available that help to treat the symptoms of dementia. These medications attempt to improve the brain’s functioning and try to delay the progression of symptons where as others maybe prescribed to control mood, psychosis or sleep problems.