Page 4 - Senior Times South Central Michigan - September 2018 -25-09
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Page 4
Senior Times - September 2018
By: Sherii Sherban, Publisher
Dementia is a general term that indicates a loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with activities of daily living. It is caused by physical changes in the brain that may result from a variety of different causes.
Dementia is not a specific disease but rather it describes a group of symptoms that may accom- pany certain diseases or conditions. Dementia is not a normal part of aging. Sometimes dementia symptoms are reversible, especially when they are caused by conditions resulting from depression, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid problems, medi- cations, infection, loss of oxygen to the brain, traumatic brain injury, and more. If you recognize moments where your memory seems challenged, an evaluation is the best first option.
According to Alzheimer’s Disease International someone in the world develops dementia every three seconds. That includes Alzheimer’s disease and all other types of dementia combined.
The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which comprises 60-80% of cases. The person with Alzheimer’s disease
is characterized by a loss of function and death
of nerve cells in several areas of the brain. This loss of function leads to a loss of independence
as it relates to activities of daily living such as cooking, driving, money management, or more basic daily activities like dressing and hygiene. Ultimately, it can lead to the loss of mental func- tions, such as memory and learning. There is no known cure but there is increasing evidence that they are things that we can do that may prevent or slow the progression of the disease.
The person with Alzheimer’s disease may also have difficulty remembering recent conversations, names or events. This is often an early indicator along with apathy and depression. As the disease
progresses communication may become impaired, poor judgment may be exhibited, along with disorientation, confusion, behavior changes, and difficulty walking, speaking or swallowing. It has been shown that the disease begins to develop years before others recognize symptoms. More information is available at
The second most common type of demen- tia is vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke. It accounts for nearly 10 percent of the dementia cases. This type of dementia occurs because of a blood vessel blockage or damage that leads to a stroke or bleeding in the brain. The amount of damage determines how the indi- vidual’s physical functioning or thinking may be affected. Initial symptoms appear more abruptly and become more noticeable in a short period of time. Vascular dementia is more common in men than women and may include impaired judgment or ability to make decisions, plan, or organize, rather than memory loss. More information is available at or www.ninds.nih. gov.
Pathologic evidence shows that the brain changes of several types of dementia can be present simultaneously. When any two or more types of dementia are present at the same time, the individual is considered to have “mixed dementia.”
Lewy Body dementia is characterized by fluctuations in alertness and attention, recur- rent visual hallucinations, and Parkinsonian motor symptoms like rigidity and the loss of spontaneous movement as well as a shuffling gait and tremors. Cognitive problems such as hallucinations tend to occur much earlier in the course of the disease and often precede the dif- ficulties with walking and motor control. Lewy Bodies dementia can also exhibit as thinking
problems as well as memory loss. It can be con- fused with Parkinson’s disease. More information is available on Lewy Body dementia at www.lbda. org or 1-844-311-0587.
There is a relationship between Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Dementia is a less com- mon feature of Parkinson’s disease. A number
of people with Parkinson’s disease will develop Parkinson’s disease dementia, but not all. For those patients with Parkinson’s disease who go on to develop dementia, there can be a 10- to 15-year lag time between their Parkinson’s diagnosis and the onset of dementia according to Parkinson’s disease dementia is different from a similar disorder, known as Lewy Body dementia (or dementia with Lewy Bodies).
Frontal Lobe dementia is sometimes called Pick’s disease, aphasia, or Frontotemporal dementia (FTD). It is marked by changes in personality or behavior such as a lack of inhibi- tion, aggressiveness, apathy, loss of empathy, etc. Changes in judgment are subtle at first but can become disabling as the disease progresses. One third of those with this type of dementia have a family history of dementia related disorders and
it is more common in women. Although age of onset ranges from 21 to 80, the majority of FTD cases occur between 45 and 64. Therefore, FTD has a substantially greater impact on work, family, and the economic burden faced by families than Alzheimer’s. For more details visit www.theaftd. org or call 1-866-507-7222.
The National Institute on Aging’s ADEAR Center offers information about Alzheimer’s dis- ease and related dementias for families, caregiv- ers, and health professionals. ADEAR Center staff answer telephone, email, and written requests and make referrals to local and national resources. For more information visit mers or call 1-800-438-4380.
Please note that this article only addresses the more common types of dementia. There are more.
Adult Day Care
(269) 962-1750
Community Care Options
(269) 441-0948
Handy Helper Services
(866) 200-8877
Home Heating Assistance
(269) 965-7766
Meal Delivered / Meal Sites
(866) 200-8877
Money Management
(866) 963-3253
Prescription Assistance
(269) 781-0952
Respite for Caregivers
(269) 441-9319
Senior Fitness & Fun
Benefits Counseling
(269) 781-0846 - Marshall (800) 803-7174 - Battle Creek (517) 629-3842 - Albion
Dental Services
(269) 781-0952
Hearing & Vision Services
(269) 969-6377
Legal Assistance
(800) 688-3951
Minor Home Repair
(877) 422-2726
Personal Emergency Response
(269) 441-0973
Ramps for Accessibility
(269) 966-2502
Senior Centers
(517) 629-3842 - Albion (269) 558-6150 - Marshall (269) 441-0948 - Battle Creek
Senior Transportation
(269) 441-0948
(800) 994-9876
Calhoun County Senior Services
315 W. Green St. Marshall, MI 49068 • 269-781-0846

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