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  • Writer's pictureAllan Rowe

The Very Basics of Dementia

Dementia is a misunderstood and confusing subject for many people. Usually, people understand it has something to do with Alzheimer's, memory, and aging. They are unsure of the exact relationship. So exactly what is Dementia?

Two elderly men play chess in a park.

Dementia is not a disease or illness. It is a group of symptoms often found in various other illnesses. It is more common to see these symptoms in older individuals, but people in their 20s and 30s have been diagnosed with dementia. The symptoms of dementia include:

  • Memory Loss

  • Difficulty Communicating

  • Confusion and Disorientation

  • Impaired Judgment

  • Difficulty with Problem-Solving

  • Changes in Mood and Personality

  • Loss of Initiative

  • Trouble with Visual Perception

  • Difficulty with Motor Skills

  • Repetitive Behaviors

  • Sleep Disturbances

  • Wandering

And yes, Azheimer's is one of the diseases with dementia symptoms. Other diseases include:

  • Vascular Dementia

  • Lewy Body Dementia (LBD)

  • Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)

  • Parkinson's Disease

  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)

  • Huntington's Disease

  • Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH)

  • HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND)

  • Mixed Dementia

These diseases and their symptoms are progressive. Once they set in, the dementia symptoms worsen over time. Many of these diseases cannot be reversed, but medication such as Donepezil (Aricept), Rivastigmine (Exelon), Galantamine (Razadyne), and Memantine (Namenda) can slow down the progression. Other medications may be used to treat symptoms individually.

This is why seeking treatment as soon as you have concerns is important. The earlier these medications are administered, the better quality of life a patient, their families, and caregivers will have. Understanding the difference between normal signs of aging and dementia is crucial in reaching out for help when the time it is needed. Click here to learn the differences between normal aging and dementia.

In addition to medications, therapy is used as a treatment for dementia. Therapy can help families learn about the disease and better understand their loved ones. Therapists may also engage in reminiscence therapy which can bring joy to an individual who faces these diseases.

If you would like to know more about dementia, please feel free to schedule a no-cost consultation by clicking the "Request an Appointment" button at the bottom-right corner of your screen.

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