Dementia is a blanket term used to describe physical changes to the brain that cause memory loss and inhibit everyday tasks of the affected. What you may not know is that there are many different kinds of dementia.
When a senior parent or loved one is diagnosed with any form of dementia, it can be an emotional, confusing, and overwhelming time. An important first step in caring for your loved one after a memory impairment has been diagnosed is to take the time to understand your loved one’s condition fully.
Oaks Senior Living, with memory care communities throughout Georgia, would like to assist you in your research process by highlighting four of the most common types of dementia.
1. Alzheimer’s Disease
According to Stanford Health Care, “Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by two abnormalities in the brain: amyloid plaques [found in the tissue between the nerve cells] and neurofibrillary tangles [bundles of twisted filaments found within neurons].”
“Researchers do not know if amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles are harmful or if they are merely side effects of the disease process that damages neurons and leads to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.” However, it has been observed and proven that the number of these plaques and tangles heighten in the brain as the disease advances.
Loss of memory, lapses of judgment, and mild changes to personality occur early on, but, as this disease evolves, those diagnosed can have difficulty completing daily tasks, their memory worsens, and problems with communication and language may arise.
Emotions and personality are also affected. As the disease progresses, those with Alzheimer’s may have issues with aggression, agitation, and depression.
2. Vascular Dementia
Vascular Dementia is the second most common form of dementia and is caused by damage done to the vessels that supply blood to the brain. While a lack of blood flow disrupts or kills cells throughout the body, the brain is the most susceptible to damage. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “changes in thinking skills sometimes occur suddenly after a stroke, which blocks major blood vessels in the brain.”
Common symptoms of vascular dementia can include difficulties with problem-solving, slowed thinking, focus, and organization. A significant way vascular dementia differs from Alzheimer’s disease is that these symptoms tend to be more prominent than memory loss.
3. Lewy Body Dementia
The Alzheimer’s Association describes Lewy body dementia as “a type of progressive dementia that leads to a decline in thinking, reasoning and independent function because of abnormal microscopic deposits that damage brain cells over time.” These microscopic deposits are protein deposits in nerve cells that interrupt chemical messages in the brain, causing this form of dementia.
Lewy Body Dementia shares similar symptoms with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, such as trembling hands, weakness, and memory loss. However, those diagnosed by Lewy Body Dementia may also have issues falling asleep at night or fall asleep suddenly during the day.
4. Frontotemporal Dementia
Mayo Clinic characterizes Frontotemporal Dementia by the degeneration of nerve cells and their connections in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. These areas of the brain affect behavior and language.
Consequently, the most common symptoms of this disease are changes in behavior, personality, thinking, and judgment, as well as a loss of inhibitions and motivation, and can lead to problems with speech.
Caring for a parent or loved one with any form of dementia is difficult. Oaks Senior Living can provide the care and attention the senior in your life needs after a dementia diagnosis. Our memory care communities throughout Georgia offer your loved one a secure environment that provides around the clock care and assists with the tasks of daily life.
We invite you to find an Oaks Senior Living community near you or contact us to learn more about our memory care services.