Different forms of dementia affect an aging population and interfere with the person’s ability to reason, problem-solve, perform daily hygiene and living tasks, remember, communicate, and live independently. When this happens, their families or other responsible people in their lives must decide how to keep them safe and well-cared for. Though Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, there are several more types of dementia, each with its own causes and sets of symptoms.
Choosing the Right Community For a Loved One
When a loved one is no longer able to live safely on their own, it may be time to seek a good memory care community for them to live in. The goal should be to find the right community for persons suffering from dementia. The right memory care community will take steps to help residents live with dignity, enjoy life, be active, and be safe and well-cared-for.
It is important to choose the memory care community that is best suited to the person with dementia and that will meet their individual needs. The community should be convenient for the family to visit and should fall within the care budget. In California, communities such as Summerfield of Encinitas may be that place. There are company representatives or counselors to meet with the families of prospective residents and there are tours of the community available.
It is important that the memory care community experts use all the latest health care techniques to help residents maintain the highest level of functioning possible and to give each resident the best quality of life possible. Each resident should have a pleasant space to call their own and community spaces to socialize with other residents. No resident should be left in lonely isolation when there are better alternatives.
Types of Dementia
Dementia is an umbrella term that covers several unique collections of symptoms that affect a person’s ability to function on their own. They can include loss of memory, limited thinking and social functioning, diminished ability to communicate, confusion, disorientation, anxiety, agitation, and other symptoms. It is important to work with doctors and mental health experts to determine what type of dementia a person is suffering from and then make a treatment plan especially for them and their set of symptoms.
- Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common cause of dementia. It can be caused by hereditary factors, mutations of three genes, plaques and tangles in the brain, and other causes.
- Vascular Dementia can be caused by damage to the blood vessels that supply blood to a person’s brain. This can result in strokes and other brain damage. This type of dementia leads to difficulty problem solving, slowed thinking processes, and a loss of focus or organization.
- Frontotemporal Dementia is actually a group of diseases caused by a breakdown of nerve cells and their connections in the temporal and frontal areas of the brain. Symptoms are changed personality, disrupted thinking, judgment, movement, and language skills.
- Lewy Body Dementia is caused by balloon-like protein clumps in the brain. This is progressive dementia. Symptoms include hallucinations, focussing problems, tremors, rigidity, slow and uncoordinated movement, and others.
- Other Dementias and mixed dementia. Older people such as those over 80 years old may have a combination of dementia types and causes. This makes treatment more complicated.
- Huntington’s disease comes from genetic mutation causing some nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to waste away or deteriorate. This disease can strike people as young as 30 or 40 and causes an extensive loss of cognitive skills and thinking.
- Parkinson’s disease patients often develop symptoms of dementia.
- People who have suffered a traumatic brain injury caused by repeated head trauma like boxers, soldiers, or football players can develop dementia. Symptoms can include depression, explosive temper, memory loss, impaired speech, and Parkinson-like symptoms.
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is a rare brain disorder that can be inherited or caused by deposits of prions or infectious proteins.
Can Dementia Be Cured?
Unfortunately, dementia has no cure at this time. Because dementia can be caused by several different diseases, it is hard to find a single cure. Research is being directed at treating the different causes or types of dementia. Some of the areas of current research include work with stem cells, immunotherapy, gene-based therapy, and repurposing medications. These areas of research have been promising.
Another promising line of research is in identifying those at risk for dementia early and offering treatments to slow down the disease. This progress will help people in the future. Now, the emphasis is still on caring for dementia patients in a safe environment like a memory care community.