Alzheimer’s and other Dementia Patients Need Memory Care
As elderly individuals grow older, they often experience memory loss and other symptoms of brain impairment. Dementia is a common form of memory loss that can affect an individual’s daily life, and it is caused by deviations in the brain.
There are multiple forms of dementia that can affect individuals based on their medical and physical history. Our home care services include memory care for seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia living in the greater New York City area, including NYC, Long Island, Westchester County, and northern New Jersey.
One of the more commonly found types of dementia in seniors is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease affects up to 80% of individuals diagnosed with dementia. Some symptoms of Alzheimer’s include; having trouble remembering certain conversations, having difficulty remembering events or people’s names, sadness, and lethargy. Additionally, as the disease progresses, individuals can show communication issues, poor judgment, misperception, confusion, conduct changes, dialogue, swallowing, or walking issues.
Alzheimer’s disease happens when protein fragments in the brain known as beta-amyloid plagues get looped around protein strands called protein tau tangles. It can eventually lead to nerve cell damage and eventually the death of the brain. Alzheimer’s is a slow-progressing disease that can affect elderly individuals for a long time in their life.
Another type of dementia afflicting New Yorkers is called vascular dementia.
This form of dementia is rarer than Alzheimer’s and affects less than 10% of cases. Symptoms of Vascular dementia include decreased judgment, a lack of planning, or organizational skills based upon memory loss. While many of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease also affect those with vascular dementia, the diseases listed above are more common to v vascular dementia.
Vascular dementia happens due to damaged vessels, leading to a higher risk of stroke and bleeding in the brain. Often an image of the brain can detect any issues with an individual’s blood vessels leading to a dementia diagnosis.
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) can also occur in elderly individuals, although it is less common in NYC.
Again, many of the same symptoms of Alzheimer’s occur in individuals with vascular dementia, but individuals experience issues with sleep, hallucinations, and unevenness. Some symptoms of Parkinson’s also can be prevalent in individuals with DLB.
This occurs when protein clumps called alpha-synuclein form in abnormal areas of the brain. It often occurs in the cortex of the brain and can also happen to individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Individuals can also be subject to mixed dementia when different forms of dementia affect different areas of the brain.
Other Kinds of Dementias
- Mixed dementia happens simultaneously and can cause an individual to have Alzheimer’s disease as well as DLB or DLB and vascular dementia, etc. This type of dementia is becoming more common in elderly patients as it is seen more often than it has in the past. When an individual has mixed dementia, it sparks multiple abnormalities in the brain, causing severe symptoms for the individual.
- Parkinson’s disease is another form of dementia that occurs more rapidly in individuals. It has many of the same symptoms as someone who has Alzheimer’s or Lewy Body Dementia, but the individual may have problems with movement and may shake. Parkinson’s occurs when in the substantia nigra area in the brain, where clumps are likely to form. These clumps affect nerve cells that produce dopamine and damage them as time passes.
- Frontotemporal dementia contains a few different types of dementia, such as behavioral variant (FTD), primary progressive aphasia, Pick’s disease, corticobasal degeneration, and progressive supranuclear palsy. Symptoms here affect the individual’s character and conduct and may damage their speech. The brain is affected as nerve cells become damaged in the front and sides of the brain. People typically experience this form of dementia at a younger age and survive for a shorter period of time.
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is another rare form of dementia, but it is more common than other forms of dementia. This form of dementia has been linked to both humans and mammals and can be attributed to variant CJD or “mad cow disease” in cattle. When an individual has CJD, memory loss and lack of coordination can occur, and a change in behavior also can be noticeable. CJD happens as proteins in the brain misfold and cause malfunctions.
- Normal-pressure hydrocephalus leads to difficulty walking, memory loss, and issues going to the bathroom in elderly individuals. This happens when there is too much fluid in the brain, and it can occasionally be surgically corrected with the use of a shunt to drain the fluid.
- Huntington’s disease is another brain disorder that happens when there is a defect in an individual’s chromosome 4. The symptoms of this include sporadic movements of the body, a loss of mental capability, decreased reasoning, irritability, depression, and other mood changes. This happens when protein in the brain becomes defective.
- Finally, Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome affects elderly individuals and their memory. This is caused by a lack of thiamine in the body and happens when someone misuses alcohol. Memory issues, as mentioned previously, are the main symptom, and as the brain receives a lack of thiamine it runs out of energy to function.
While this is just a small guide to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, there are many other symptoms and ways to cope with these diseases. These resources can be found online as well as in hospitals and doctor’s offices. Please seek out assistance if you believe you or your loved one may be suffering from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
Works Cited: https://www.alz.org/dementia/types-of-dementia.asp.