According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s. While dementia and Alzheimer’s are often used interchangeably, dementia is actually an umbrella term for the symptoms that originate from a number of different disorders. Here, NewAldaya Lifescapes explores the signs of dementia, its many causes, diagnosis, and long-term care.
Dementia is often thought of as a disorder, but should instead be viewed as a symptom with underlying causes. There are actually ten different neurological disorders that cause dementia. Alzheimer’s is perhaps the most common, but it also presents alongside other common disorders like Parkinson’s Disease.
Other causes include Vascular Dementia (post-stroke dementia), Lewy Body Dementia (which occurs with changes in brain chemistry), Creutizfeldt-Jakob Disease (a prion disorder), hydrocephalus (colloquially known as water on the brain), Huntington’s Disease, Wernicke-Korakoff Syndrome (caused by vitamin deficiency brought on by alcohol abuse), frontotemporal dementia, and Mixed Dementia, which is the result of multiple causes listed above.
Dementia can manifest in a number of different ways. Taken individually, each may be an indication of something else. When these symptoms are severe, or when they begin presenting in groups, it may be a sign of dementia.
- Cognitive Symptoms: Mental decline — including memory loss, confusion, disorientation, changes in understanding or use of language, or loss of object recognition — is common.
- Behavioral Issues: If someone’s personality isn’t what it once was, especially if they’re irritable, making questionable decisions, or displaying inappropriate behavior, this may also be a sign of dementia.
- Changes in Mood: Depression and anxiety are common in older individuals, but if these manifest alongside nervousness and mood swings, an evaluation may be in order.
- Psychological Issues: Dementia patients often experience hallucinations and paranoia.
- Other Signs: Loss of fine or gross muscle control, an unsteady gait, frequent falls, sleep disorders, and a number of other problems are common with dementia.
You may suspect dementia in a loved one, but you could be wrong. It’s possible that their behavior is due to an adverse reaction to a prescription, or other everyday causes such as dehydration, malnutrition, or a urinary tract infection. A professional Dementia diagnosis usually involves both a battery of behavioral or psychological tests, combined with brain imaging.
Finding Long-Term Dementia Care
The decision to place a loved one with dementia into a long-term memory care facility like NewAldaya Lifescapes is never an easy one. But the decision ultimately illuminates two sides of the same coin; we want the best for those we love, and at some point we realize their care and their best interests may be beyond our skill set and our best intentions. That’s why we invite you to tour our facility, meet our dedicated and caring staff, and see firsthand the quality care we deliver.
The right long-term care facility ensures quality of life — yours and theirs alike — and allows a loved one with dementia to live with dignity, surrounded by people who care. Contact NewAldaya Lifescapes today to find out more about your options.