Dementia

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The Alzhiemer’s associations states “Dementia is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is caused by physical changes in the brain.” Dementia is not a specific disease, but rather a descriptive word used for a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills. The most common form of Dementia is Alzheimer’s, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of all Dementia cases. Other forms include, Vascular Dementia, Dementia with Lewy bodies, Mixed Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, Frontotemporal Dementia, and Huntington’s Disease.

While there is no cure to this condition is any form, there are many ways to help those effected by the disease, which is our specialty.

Here is some information and a few tips that we have found to be useful for Dementia patients and their families.

  • Connecting with Family

    • Holding regular care planning meetings – understand the clients changing needs and implications of those changes

    • Family can understand the symptoms and understand the progression of the disease

  • Checklist for behavioral changes – determine if from disease, medication, environment, health.

    • Changes in ability to focus

    • Changes in level of alertness

    • Emotional or physical agitation

    • Changes in mood

    • Hallucinations

    • Delusions

    • Suspicion of others

    • Withdrawal from others

    • Groaning or calling out

    • Making faces (struggling, grimacing)

    • Striking out or other signs of distress

    • Wandering

    • Pacing

    • Rocking

  • Care goal – help the person with dementia to have and sustain meaningful social relationships.

    • Develop trust by showing interest in social relationship and activities

  • Activities – what will work for who

    • Ability to move

    • Daily routine and schedule

    • Capacity for mental stimulation

    • Ability to communicate (status of speech and hearing)

    • Interest in social relationships

    • Desire for spiritual participation

    • Cultural values

    • Work history

    • Leisure interests

    • Opportunities for transportation to community activities

  • Pain

    • People with dementia have difficulty expressing pain

  • Vision

    • Dementia often brings weakened vision

  • Wandering

    • May look pointless but often has a purpose. Sometimes can be because of an unmet need for social interaction, or friendship, a noisy environment, pain or distress boredom or other causes.

  • Tools to help

    • Touch Lamps

    • Calendar Clock

    • Satellite Navigation System/Locator Device for items

    • Reminder Messages – Voice recorded

    • Automatic Pill Dispenser with Alarm

    • Multimedia Software – video/picture/music

Here are a few articles regarding these issues:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10565032/Alzheimers-disease-15-minute-test-could-spot-early-sign-of-dementia.html

http://www.alzheimersanddementia.com

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1514434