Types of Dementia
Around the world, 50 million people have some form of the condition, and that number grows by 10 million annually. But for such a widespread issue, many people are still confused about what exactly dementia is.
Dementia describes a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with your daily life….Dementia is caused by damage to or loss of nerve cells and their connections in the brain. Depending on the area of the brain that’s affected by the damage, dementia can affect people differently and cause different symptoms.″
Each type of dementia is different in how it wreaks havoc on a person’s regulatory systems and perception of the world. Our insight and expertise have helped us develop specific, customized care plans that address symptoms and needs as well as the person behind the disease.
We’ve specialized in dementia care since 2009, helping clients living with Alzheimer’s disease (characterized by amyloid plaques and tau tangles on the brain), Vascular dementia (caused by a series of small strokes over a long period of time), Lewy body dementia (abnormal aggregates of protein that develop inside nerve cells), Frontotemporal dementia (degeneration of the frontal lobe of the brain), and Parkinson’s disease dementia (a decline in thinking and reasoning). We understand the disorders linked to dementia and we know how to handle the behaviors they create.
Sadly, no one has a cure yet for dementia. But at Tender Rose, what we do have is exceptional care, expertise, and heart.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. More than five million Americans live with this degenerative, fatal brain disease, and it’s the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. (more deaths than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined).
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s go beyond the expected signs of aging. In someone with Alzheimer’s, memory loss becomes severe enough to disrupt daily life. It becomes difficult to plan, remember important dates, pay bills, follow a recipe, or complete familiar tasks. Balance and reading may become a challenge, and judgment may become impaired.
Often mood changes occur as well, like the intense fear and anger our client Dr. Douglas experienced while living in a residential facility. We found ways to keep Dr. Douglas calm, de-escalate the situation, avoid restraints, and protect his visitors and family. Our work improved his quality of life—which is our goal for every client and their loved ones.
Vascular dementia (VaD) is the second most common form of dementia in people over 65. Caused by a series of small strokes or other conditions that stop blood flow to the brain, the symptoms of VaD can progress gradually or come and go for short periods following each stroke.
Symptoms of VaD vary depending on where the brain is damaged. People with VaD often find it increasingly difficult to perform daily tasks or solve complex problems. They may become more easily distracted, forget words, get lost, lose items, and undergo personality changes. There may be an increase in the need to urinate and an inability to control urination. Eventually, memory loss becomes more extreme and can extend to the awareness of self. Delusions, hallucinations, and apathy may increase, and violent behavior can occur.
At Tender Rose, we’ve worked with many clients living with Vascular dementia and know how to help manage these varied behaviors. Whatever symptoms manifest, we’ll be ready for them, backed by years of expertise, vigilance, and a passion for personcentric care.
Lewy body dementia (LBD) occurs when abnormal protein deposits build up on the nerve cells responsible for thinking, memory, and movement. LBD is quite common— about 1.4 million people in the United States are living with it—but since it resembles Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and other disorders, it often goes misdiagnosed. Lewy body dementia and Parkinson’s disease dementia are similar in that the same protein abnormality is present in both and there’s often an overlap in symptoms.
LBD manifests in physical, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms, as well as body functions like blood pressure, body temperature, and bladder/bowel function. People with LBD may also have difficulty paying attention, sleeping, and moving (manifesting in a hunched posture, shuffling walk, or rigid muscles).
Lewy body dementia gets worse as it progresses and can eventually cause hallucinations. Agitation and violence can also occur, as it did in our client Barbara.
Barbara only wanted help from her husband when it came to grooming and daily activities, yet when she was confused or hallucinating, she would lash out violently at the very man she loved the most. We helped identify Barbara’s triggers and found ways to redirect her toward activities that kept her calm and engaged.
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain and is the most common form of dementia in people under 60. Although the disease is progressive in terms of behavior, language, emotion, decision-making, and movement, it affects memory less than Alzheimer’s.
FTD is lesser known and less common than other types of dementia, so it’s often misdiagnosed. The first symptoms are a steady decline in functioning. People with FTD have difficulty planning, organizing activities, and behaving appropriately in public. They may become more impulsive, compulsive, and apathetic, and less sympathetic or empathetic. They may struggle to express themselves verbally, to read, and to write. Physically, people with FTD feel like their muscles are weakening, that they’re uncoordinated or walking through water. Physical complications (pneumonia, infection, injury from a fall) are also likely.
Outrageous behavior in people with Frontotemporal dementia is common. Our client Earl, for example, shoved his colleagues and made offensive comments before his family reached out for help. We found palatable ways to introduce care to this fiercely independent man, who ultimately developed warm relationships with his team of specialists.
Parkinson’s is typically thought of as a movement disorder causing tremors and rigidity. But when slowed thinking, memory loss and other cognitive functioning symptoms develop at least a year after the onset of motor symptoms, Parkinson’s disease dementia is diagnosed.
While all forms of dementia are incredibly challenging, Parkinson’s disease dementia makes an additional impact on daily life because of the combination of motor and cognitive impairment.
When we started providing care for our client with Parkinson’s disease dementia, Lydia, it quickly became evident that we’d need to adjust our approach in order to help her feel in control of her life. Read Lydia’s case study to discover how we worked with Lydia to maintain her dignity and independence.
Caused by changes in the structure and chemistry of the brain, symptoms of this progressive disease include difficulty with problem solving, speed of thinking, concentration, judgment, memory, and mood. Muffled speech, paranoid delusions, hallucinations, depression, daytime drowsiness, and rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder can also be present.