Understanding Dementia in Your Senior Needing Care

Dementia is not a disease, rather, it is a medical term used to describe a group of symptoms. Decline in cognitive function is the key feature. This decline may be manifested in thinking, reasoning, memory, problem solving, and speech. Other features that may occur are changes in behavior and personality. Dementia of the Alzheimer’s type is the most common of the 60 types of dementia. Two other main types of dementia are Vascular Dementia (VaD) and Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). According to The Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is the leading cause of death among all ages, and the 5th leading cause among those aged 65 and older. The greatest risk for getting Alzheimer’s type of dementia is advancing age. The average course from onset (the time of diagnosis) to death is 4-6 years. It is important to note that those with dementia have often been having symptoms long before a formal diagnosis is made. There is no known cause or cure at this time- treatment is limited. Over the next week I will be adding blog entries regarding Alzheimer’s and key information regarding the disease and caring for your Elders: especially as it pertains to organizing home care and potentially nursing facility long term care.

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