One of the most heartbreaking experiences a person can face is watching a loved one slowly deteriorate due to dementia. At first, they may be only forgetting small details, which later progresses to significant details, such as what street they live on, or who their family members are.
While always disconcerting, it’s important to realize that not all dementia cases are the same.
What Is Dementia?
Dementia is an umbrella term used to cover several conditions that all result in the decline of a patient’s cognitive abilities such as; the capacity to understand concepts, process information, sustain concentration on a task or conversation, the ability to remember details and people, the ability to speak, reason, and utilize motor skills.
The 10 Most Common Types of Dementia
There are a variety of diseases that are considered to be a form of dementia. The most frequently diagnosed include:
1. Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive condition that causes neuronal loss in the part of the brain that’s responsible for learning, creating memories, and expressing emotion. It’s the most common form of dementia. Between 60 and 80% of all dementia-related diagnoses is Alzheimer’s disease. It progresses in stages, the patient will start forgetting simple things (such as how many sugars they like in their coffee), to forgetting important facts about their life and personal history. Eventually, Alzheimer’s Disease patients lose their motor skills and need 24/7 care.
2. Lewy-Body Disease (LBD)
LBD is the second most common type of dementia. Since the announcement that the late actor Robin Williams had been living with this disease prior to his death, Lewy-Body Disease has gained more attention. The disease occurs when protein deposits build up on the nerve cells in the brain stem. It results in muscle rigidity, uncontrollable behavioral issues, tremors, and cognitive loss.
People with Lewy-Body Disease often experience recurring hallucinations, difficulty sleeping, and long periods of time staring into space. Just as Alzheimer’s, it’s a progressive condition. Complications include tremors and aggressive behavior.
3. Huntington’s Disease (HD)
This form of dementia has a devastating effect on families because it is the result of an inherited defective gene. When a person has HD, there is a 50% likelihood that their children will have it too.
The disease impairs judgment, causes speech problems, and leads to depression and mood disorders. Symptoms of Huntington’s Disease start earlier than other forms of dementia; usually between the ages of 30 and 50. In rare cases, it can occur in a patient who is in their 20s. This form is known as Juvenile Huntington’s Disease. Some of the earliest signs are changes in personality, involuntary body movements (also known as chorea), slurred speech, forgetfulness, and an unsteady gait while walking.
4. Vascular Dementia
This occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. It is often caused by a stroke, coronary artery disease, or advanced diabetes. Early signs include confusion, difficulty concentrating or focusing on a task, an inability to communicate thoughts, and a decline in the ability to think analytically.
5. Parkinson’s Dementia
While the most well-known side-effect of Parkinson’s Disease is involuntary tremors, the condition may also result in a decreased attention span and a slowness in processing thoughts. Patients frequently have difficulty finding the right words to communicate their thoughts. As the illness progresses, it often causes dementia. Parkinson’s Dementia causes the patient to develop memory loss, poor judgment, speech problems and difficulty with abstract thoughts. That being said, it’s important to note that not everyone who has Parkinson’s Disease develops Parkinson’s Dementia.
6. Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH)
This dementia is the result of cerebrospinal fluid build up in the brain’s cavities. It occurs most often in older adults who are over the age of 60.
The pressure NPH causes in the brain results in an interruption of functional abilities such as mobility, bladder control, speech, and memory. In fact, one of the earliest symptoms is incontinence and the inability to control leg movements. While still a serious condition, the good news is that, unlike most forms of dementia, NPH is reversible.
7. Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (WKS)
Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is caused by a lack of vitamin B-1 or Thiamine. Early symptoms include vision problems and exaggerated storytelling. It’s most commonly seen in alcoholics, cancer patients, long-term dialysis patients, and people who are malnourished.
It is more likely to occur in patients who have undergone gastric bypass surgery since their digestive system doesn’t absorb all nutrients consumed. The most common symptoms include a drooping eyelid, double vision, hallucinations, difficulty processing information, and aggressive behavior.
8. Frontotemporal Dementia
Also known as Pick’s Disease. It affects the parts of the brain that are responsible for one’s personality. Early signs include socially inappropriate or impulsive behavior, lack of empathy, lack of judgment, and a decline in personal hygiene. It tends to occur in patients in their 40s and is often misdiagnosed as a psychiatric disorder.
9. Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
This type of dementia progresses much faster than other types. It is famously known for affecting people who were thought to have been suffering from “Mad Cow Disease” in the 1990s. Symptoms include difficulty swallowing, speaking, and sleeping, blurred vision, memory loss, personality changes, and sudden, involuntary body movements.
10. Mixed Dementia
Mixed Dementia occurs when a patient experiences two or more types of dementia simultaneously. Most cases are initially diagnosed as Alzheimer’s Disease. Because of this, coexisting types go untreated.
If You Have Questions About Transitioning to an Assisted Living Facility, Let Us Help You
At Senior Living Specialists, we provide assistance for the senior citizen community in Dallas. Whether it’s home care or assisted living, we have the experience and compassion to provide healthcare and support to your loved one.
Everyone has memory loss, and as a person gets older, it’s common for signs of memory issues to become more prevalent. How do you know when “normal” memory issues are actually a sign of something much more serious, such Alzheimer’s disease? Here are the top 10 early signs of the disease according to the Alzheimer’s Association: [Read more…]
The numbers tell the story of Alzheimer’s effect on families and the nation. An estimated 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease in 2014, including approximately 200,000 individuals younger than age 65 who have younger-onset Alzheimer’s. Here are some additional figures about Alzheimer’s from the Alzheimer’s Association: [Read more…]
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) has reported that many people ask them “why bother” to get an official diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. This is a legitimate question, given that the reality of Alzheimer’s care right now is that there are no effective treatments to prevent, reverse, or cure the disease.
According to the AFA, a recent survey found that 29 to 76 percent of people with dementia or probable dementia have not been diagnosed by a primary care physician. An official Alzheimer’s diagnosis is important, though. Not only can it put the person in the care of expert specialists, it also allows the person and his or her family to prepare for future care needs. While no cure exists for Alzheimer’s, there are treatments that can slow the progression of symptoms and clinical trials are often available. Support services for the person and family are also more readily available with an official diagnosis.
DFW Area Alzheimer’s Care Facilities
In general, it’s often easier to deal with a tough situation when you have access to information about it. The same is true of finding an Alzheimer’s care facility here in the DFW area. In 2008, I was faced with the issue of finding specialized care for my mother when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. With so many Alzheimer’s care and assisted living facilities in our area, it took a lot of research and investigation of my own to find the right place. That experience inspired me to create a FREE service to help other families just like I helped Rebecca, below. Contact me today to get your free guide.
I wanted to let you know what a huge weight has been lifted from our shoulders. The first time we moved our father, there were endless trips to different care facilities around DFW. As our father progressed with his Alzheimer’s, and after 3 years, it became more evident that we would be facing this challenge yet again, only this time with his diagnoses in mind. You made the daunting task of placing our father in a Dallas Assisted Living very palatable. I think it’s the hardest decision you face with a loving parent. The information that you provided for us was invaluable. Not only did you supply the places to go, who to speak with, but, also had good background on the various Dallas Assisted Living Communities themselves and the people running them. We couldn’t be happier with the suggestions put forth by you and your team. We are extremely happy with our choice of an Alzheimer’s Care Facility in the DFW area. Everyone who has a parent in need of Alzheimer’s care should be contacting you.
Rebecca J – DFW area
Choose Senior Living Specialists for DFW Alzheimer’s Care
Senior Living Specialists is locally owned and operated, serving the greater metro area of Dallas and Fort Worth, including Coppell, Garland, Arlington, Frisco, McKinney and Plano. If there are any questions on how we can help your family find the best Alzheimer’s care facility in the area, please contact me (Paul) by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 214.929.5055. Remember, there is no cost to families for our services. Senior Living Specialists is a non-biased third party service compensated by referral fees from facilities.
I know from experience that the early signs of Alzheimer’s may be easy to attribute to simple aging. It’s important, though, to recognize the signs of Alzheimer’s and get help as early as possible. According to WebMD here are some of the early signs of Alzheimer’s:
- Memory: For most Alzheimer’s patients in early stages, long-term memories remain intact while short-term memories become sketchy.
- Speech: Alzheimer’s disrupts speech, so patients may struggle to remember common words.
- Behavior: Even in its early stages, Alzheimer’s can cause confusion and behavior changes. People with the disease may get lost in familiar places and suffer from mood swings.
Help for Families of People with Alzheimer’s
No one wants to face the possibility of a loved one being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. However, early intervention is always best, both for the patient and his or her family. Consulting a doctor when consistent signs of Alzheimer’s are present can help everyone.
Alzheimer’s Care Facilities in Arlington
When it comes time to look for long-term Alzheimer’s care, finding the right facility can be difficult. In the Arlington area, you have a source that can help you navigate through the many challenges of finding a facility for your loved one with Alzheimer’s. In 2008, I was faced with this same issue as my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. That experience inspired me to create a FREE service to help other families. Contact me today to get your free guide.
Choose Senior Living Specialists for Alzheimer’s Care Arlington Facilities
Senior Living Specialists is locally owned and operated, serving the greater metro area of Dallas and Fort Worth, including Arlington, Frisco, McKinney and Plano. If there are any questions on how we can help your family find the best Alzheimer’s care facility in Dallas, then please contact me (Paul) by email at email@example.com or by phone at 214.929.5055. Remember, there is no cost to families for our services. Senior Living Specialists is a non-biased third party service compensated by referral fees from facilities.