Dementia describes a variety of symptoms that affect the memory, thinking, and social interactions of seniors. It is not one disease, but the symptom of several. While Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia in seniors, other diseases cause it as well. Here are some common forms of dementia in seniors as well as, symptoms you can look out for in your senior loved one.
What Is Dementia?
Dementia is a condition that affects memory and our ability to think. It is typically caused by damage to or loss of nerve cells in the brain. While we typically think of dementia as permanent, only some types are non-reversible.
Non-reversible Progressive Dementia
Some types of dementia progress over time and are irreversible. Some of the diseases that cause this type of dementia include
- Alzheimer’s disease – plaques and fibrous tangles that form in the brain
- Vascular dementia – damage to the vessels that supply blood to the brain
- Lewy body dementia – abnormal balloon-like clumps of protein in the brain
- Frontotemporal dementia – a group of diseases that affect nerve cells in the frontal lobe of the brain
- Mixed dementia – dementia caused by a combination of conditions such as vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
- Huntington’s disease – a genetic mutation that causes nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to waste away
- Traumatic brain injury – dementia caused by head injury, most common in soldier and athletes
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease – a rare brain disorder whose causes are unknown but may be inherited or tied to the presence of a prion or diseased tissue from a transplant
- Parkinson’s disease – many people with Parkinson’s develop dementia over time
Reversible Dementia and Dementia-Like Conditions
Some conditions can cause dementia and dementia-like symptoms. If these conditions are treated before permanent damage occurs to the brain, the dementia symptoms will go away. Some of these conditions include,
- Infections and immune disorders – Fevers can cause dementia-like symptoms in patients, which is why it so important to bring down high fevers. Likewise, conditions that cause the immune system to attack the body can cause dementia as the body attacks nerve cells.
- Metabolic and endocrine abnormalities – Thyroid problems, low blood sugar, and sodium and calcium deficiencies can all cause dementia-like symptoms.
- Medication side effects – side effects from some medications can cause dementia-like symptoms.
- Nutritional deficiencies – dehydration or not getting enough vitamins and nutrients from your diet can cause dementia symptoms.
Common Signs of Dementia or Dementia-Like Conditions
- Memory loss
- Difficulty communicating or reasoning
- Struggles with spatial abilities – getting lost, for example
- Has a hard time with complex tasks, organization, and planning
- Difficulty with motor functions
- Confusion and disorientation
- Personality changes
- Depression or anxiety
- Inappropriate behavior
- Paranoia or agitation
If your loved one is demonstrating symptoms of dementia, talk to their doctor right away.
Are You Looking for In-Home Care in Lebanon or Philadelphia?
Angels on Call provides caregivers for senior home care. Whether your senior loved one lives with dementia or just needs a little extra assistance at home, contact us today. We will match your loved one with the care they need.