As a loved one with dementia struggles with memory loss, it becomes more and more important to provide services and experiences that evoke memories. Primrose’s staff and the many programs offered through the Activity Center seek to provide the services your loved one needs to continue to feel useful and to help with feelings of loneliness, depression, anger, or agitation.
A number of medical disorders cause dementia, aside from Alzheimer’s Disease. They include:
- Dementia with Lewy Bodies
- Vascular Dementia
- Frontotemporal Dementia
- Parkinson’s Disease
Dementia is a Symptom
Because Alzheimer’s Disease accounts for more than two-thirds of dementia diagnoses, however, it has lead to the two terms being linked so closely together. The Alzheimer’s Association provides some very good information about these different types of dementia, including their characteristics and the changes that occur in the brain for the different types of dementia.
The medical terms of Dementia and Alzheimer’s sometimes still cause confusion for many who are confronted with either diagnosis, whether the diagnosis is given to a loved one or to one’s self. In its most basic sense, dementia is not a disease of the brain. Rather, dementia refers to a group of symptoms, whereas Alzheimer’s, for example, refers to a disease. In discussing the two different diagnoses, dementia is the symptom, and Alzheimer’s is the cause of the symptom. An individual with Alzheimer’s Disease may have dementia symptoms then, but dementia symptoms do not necessarily mean an individual has Alzheimer’s. Put another way, “Dementia is not a disease; it is the clinical presentation or symptoms of a disease” (source: Alzheimer’s Reading Room).
Screening for Dementia
Doctors can apply dementia to many symptoms that cause issues with brain function, though the most pervasive symptom an individual displays will be cognitive changes. Cognitive or memory difficulty occurs more often as a person reaches an advanced age and typically it coincides with one or more additional symptoms of dementia. These symptoms can include:
- language difficulty
- spatial skills
- poor judgment
- diminished capacity to problem solve,
- maintain attention, plan, and/or organize
Unlike Alzheimer’s, which cannot be diagnosed with complete certainty until post-mortem, doctors and healthcare providers can use a process of elimination to screen and diagnose the cause of the dementia symptoms using some or all of the following medical procedures:
- A blood test
- An evaluation of mental status
- Neuropsychological tests
- A brain scan
- Spinal tap/enzyme profile
- Protein analysis
Diagnosis of a cause of dementia, however, does become more difficult the later in life a person reaches at the time of diagnosis, because the differences from one type of dementia to another become more subtle with advanced age, as other medical conditions impact symptoms.
Because dementia inhibits choosing and following through on activities on one’s own, our Dementia Care Activities are designed to keep the neurons firing in the brain. Your loved one will derive many benefits from taking part in our cognitive and physical activities whether he or she is living at home, at our assisted living center, an Alzheimer’s retirement home, or takes part in our Alzheimer’s day program. Activities like those in our Primrose programs boost the quality of life for persons with memory loss and improve their sense of well-being over time.
If you or a loved one has been looking for services for care of dementia symptoms, please contact Primrose to discuss the programs we offer to help serve those in need of memory care services.