Understanding the Different Types of Dementia
Caring for Dementia Patients Is Our Specialty
At Griswold Home Care for Atlanta, we understand that caring for an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient can be emotionally and physically demanding. Fortunately for you, our team can refer skilled and compassionate caregivers with the experience and expertise necessary to provide invaluable assistance. We’ll help your loved one deal with the many complications and obstacles associated with early Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Our priority is to ensure every patient experiences the best possible quality of life, despite the setbacks that come with this disease.
We go above and beyond to create a safe environment. Most types of dementia impair problem-solving skills and judgment. This can increase a person's susceptibility to injuries.
We can increase your loved one’s safety by:
- Removing clutter and debris to reduce the likelihood of severe falls
- Locking up drawers and cabinets with dangerous utensils, equipment, chemicals, and substances
- Maintaining safe water temperatures
- Safeguarding dangerous appliances and fire hazards
- Regularly inspecting smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- And much more!
The precautions we take will largely depend on your loved one’s symptoms, condition, and the type of Alzheimer's they’ve been diagnosed with. That’s why we’re here today to discuss some of the most common types of dementia in greater detail.
Did You Know There Are Over 100 Types of Dementia?
Every type of dementia entails progressive and chronic brain deterioration. This process can cause patients to suffer from extreme forgetfulness, confusion, withdrawal, and disorientation. It is not uncommon for dementia patients to become incapable of caring for themselves during advanced stages. Today, we will discuss the many forms of Alzheimer’s and dementia. There are more than 100 types of dementia. Knowing the specific form of dementia affecting someone can help family, friends, and professionals provide effective caregiving assistance.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most well-known form of dementia. Most cases occur later in life – with only 5% of cases diagnosed before age 65. These cases are commonly referred to as Early-Onset Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s results from brain cells deteriorating due to the accumulation of abnormal proteins. Common early symptoms of the disease include:
- Short-term memory loss
- Problems remembering words
- Difficulty completing mildly complex tasks
- Struggles with word recall
Varying motor functions and cognitive skills can often remain intact until the later stages of the illness. Many Alzheimer’s patients retain long-term/emotional memories, competency with familiar tasks, and basic motor skills. These enduring abilities can boost self-esteem and provide emotional consolation to both patients and family members.
Vascular dementia is usually caused by a minor or major stroke. This type of dementia results from small blood vessels in the brain, which can cause bleeding that damages brain cells.
Significant risk factors that can contribute to vascular dementia include:
- High Cholesterol
Unlike Alzheimer's memory problems, vascular dementia symptoms usually involve difficulty planning, organizing, and making decisions. Other symptoms include:
- Trouble understanding speech
- Speech impairments
- Mood or personality swings
Vascular dementia symptoms can also vary unpredictably – fluctuating between days of mental clarity and days of extreme confusion. Therefore, accurately assessing behavioral cues is critical when treating individuals with this dementia form.
Lewy Body Dementia (DLB)
The third most common dementia form is known as Dementia with Lewy bodies. Lewy bodies are microscopic protein deposits that can grow in the brain and disrupt cognitive function. DLB occurs when these protein deposits accumulate in the cerebral cortex.
Dementia with Lewy bodies has dramatic symptoms, including:
- Vivid hallucinations
- Delusional thoughts
- Sudden drowsiness
- Sleep disturbances
- Tremors and trouble walking
- Staring blankly
- Lucid dreaming (often accompanied by sleepwalking)
There is a significant silver lining: In many cases, memory function will not be significantly affected during the early stages of DLB, which can offer a source of comfort.
Mixed dementia was virtually unknown until recently. It involves situations where multiple forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, are simultaneously present in a single patient. Today, it is one of the most diagnosed forms of dementia.
Mixed dementia involves multiple symptoms and can be challenging to diagnose. Unfortunately, recent research has shown that mixed dementia can quickly accelerate the progression of the disease.
Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)
Frontotemporal dementia is the fifth most common form of dementia. It affects brain cells in the frontal and/or temporal regions of the brain. This is the area that controls emotions, judgment, planning, speech, and movement.
Depending on the subtype, symptoms of FTD can also include:
- Lack of inhibition
- Trouble finding words
- Personality changes
- Loss of impulse control
- Shakiness, coordination issues, and muscle spasms
- Decreased cognitive and executive functioning
There Are Many More Types of Dementia
We’ve only covered a few types of dementia. Other common forms include:
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease – This rare form of dementia occurs when prions cause proteins in the brain to fold into odd shapes.
- Huntington's Disease – This brain disorder is inherited genetically.
- Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus – This dementia is due to a buildup of brain fluid.
- Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome – A shortage of thiamine, or vitamin B-1, can cause this dementia-related disorder. It is a common disease among long-term drinkers.
Knowing what type of dementia your loved one is suffering from will help with:
- Treating symptoms
- Handling tricky situations
- Administering medicine
- Planning for the future
The Griswold Home Care for Atlanta Difference
At Griswold Home Care, we specialize in referring expert caregivers to help individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s/dementia. We are backed by a brand with more than 40 years of industry experience and always champion our franchise-wide values of compassionate care. Our team of caregivers is ready to tailor their skills and strategies to meet your loved one’s unique situation and needs. These caregivers are trained, qualified, and experienced to provide elite support and assistance.
Working with dementia patients can be challenging. That’s why receiving an exact dementia diagnosis is so pivotal in delivering optimal care. The patient and empathic caregivers we work with understand the complications of different kinds of dementia. They will adapt their approach depending on the diagnosis and stage of the disease.
Whatever your loved one’s circumstances, you can count on caregiving specialists who will:
- Evolve and empathize with your loved one’s shifting reality
- Provide simple instructions and repeat themselves when necessary
- Help establish reliable routines and reintroduce themselves often
- Promote independence by engaging the patient
- Reduce distractions and excessive napping
- Do their best to stimulate cognitive activity and elicit happy memories through positive interactions
- Carefully prepare meals to simplify eating
- And much more!
If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Atlanta, GA, call Griswold Home Care
and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (404) 567-5208