Dementia and the Elderly and How to Cope. It would seem that Dementia and the Elderly never seem far apart. During your career as a Live-in Carer, you will discover many illnesses and each one needs studying as this will help you provide the best care.
I thought it might be beneficial if I at least provide an outline of the common illnesses found among the elderly. The below information is sourced from various attributed organisations.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are often used interchangeably as many people believe that one means the other. The distinction between the two diseases often causes confusion on behalf of patients, families, and caregivers. Discover how the two diagnoses, while related, are remarkably different.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia are still a mystery in many ways. This is why the two similar diseases are often mixed up in everyday conversation and understanding. According to the National Institute on Ageing (NIA), Dementia is a brain disorder that affects communication and performance of daily activities and Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that specifically affects parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language.
Dementia and the Elderly and How to Cope
What is Dementia
Dementia is an umbrella term for a set of symptoms including impaired thinking and memory. It is a term that is often associated with the cognitive decline of ageing. There are issues other than Alzheimer’s that can cause dementia. Other common causes of dementia are Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
What is Alzheimer’s
According to the Centre for Disease Control, Alzheimer’s disease is a common cause of dementia causing as many as 50 to 70% of all dementia cases. Alzheimer’s is a very specific form of dementia. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s include impaired thought, impaired speech, and confusion. Doctors use a variety of screenings to determine the cause of dementia including blood tests, mental status evaluations and brain scans.
Dementia and The Elderly and How to Cope
How are Dementia and Alzheimer’s Different?
When a person is diagnosed with dementia, the patients are being diagnosed with a set of symptoms. This is similar to someone who has a sore throat. Their throat is sore, but it is not known what is causing that symptom. It could be allergies, strep throat, or a common cold. Similarly, when someone has dementia they are experiencing symptoms without being told what is causing those symptoms.
Another major difference between the two is that Alzheimer’s is not a reversible disease. It is degenerative and incurable now. Some forms of dementia, such as a drug interaction or a vitamin deficiency, are reversible or temporary.
Once a cause of dementia is found suitable treatment and counselling can begin. Until a proper diagnosis is made, the best approach to any dementia is engagement, communication, and loving care.
Go to the Alzheimers Reading Room here www.alzheimersreadingroom.com/
Dementia and the Elderly and How to Cope
What is Lewy Body Dementia?
Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a progressive brain disorder in which Lewy bodies abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein build up in areas of the brain that regulate behaviour, cognition, and movement.
A complex disease, LBD can present with a range of symptoms including problems with thinking, memory, moving, sleep and/or changes in behaviour, to name a few of the physical, cognitive, behavioural symptoms and hallucinations. Read my article here to find out more and my own experiences. https://mysixtypluslife.com/?p=2168&preview=true&_thumbnail_id=2171
LBD also affects autonomic body functions, such as blood pressure control, temperature regulation, and bladder, and bowel function. Progressively debilitating, LBD can also cause people to experience visual hallucinations or act out their dreams.
What is the Difference Between LBD and Dementia with Lewy Bodies?
LBD is an umbrella term for two closely related clinical diagnoses: Parkinson’s disease dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
What Causes LBD?
The causes of LBD are not yet well understood, but research is ongoing in this area. There are probably multiple factors involved, including genetic and environmental risk factors that combine with natural ageing processes to make someone susceptible to LBD.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of LBD?
This condition impairs thinking, such as memory, executive function (planning, processing information), or the ability to understand visual information. Patients with LBD may have fluctuations in attention or alertness; problems with movement including tremors, stiffness, slowness, and difficulty walking; hallucinations; and alterations in sleep and behaviour.
Find out more here www.lbda.org/category/http://www.lbda.org/category/3437/
Dementia and the Elderly How to Cope
UTI’s (Urinary Tract Infection) Common Elderly Ailment
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) aren’t just a nuisance, they can cause serious health problems. A UTI happens when bacteria in the urethra, bladder, or kidneys multiply in the urine. If left untreated, a UTI can lead to acute or chronic kidney infections, which could permanently damage these vital organs and even lead to kidney failure. These common infections are also a leading cause of sepsis, a potentially life-threatening infection of the bloodstream.
Seniors Are Prone to UTIs
The population most likely to experience UTIs is the elderly. Older individuals are more vulnerable for many reasons, including their overall susceptibility to infections resulting from a weakened immune system. Elderly men and women also experience a weakening of the muscles of the bladder and pelvic floor, which can lead to increased urine retention (incomplete emptying of the bladder) and incontinence. These things all contribute to infection.
Typical Symptoms of UTIs
- Urine that appears cloudy or dark
- Bloody Urine
- Strong or foul-smelling urine
- Frequent or urgent need to urinate
- Pain or burning during urination
- Feelings of pressure in the lower pelvis
- Low-grade fever
- Night sweats, shaking or chills Lesser-known UTI Symptoms in Seniors Older individuals with UTIs may not exhibit any of the hallmark signs listed above because their immune systems cannot mount a significant response to the infection. On top of the
- Lack of noticeable symptoms, many seniors do not or cannot express their discomfort to their caregivers.
It’s quite a good idea to get an over the counter Urine testing kit as this helps you determine if there is a UTI. If proven positive then ask the Dr to prescribe an antibiotic if left untreated these may become quite dangerous.
Since elders’ bodies respond differently to infection, it is important to look for different signs and symptoms. One telltale symptom of UTIs in the elderly is often mistaken for the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Indicators of infection in seniors include the following:
- Confusion or delirium
- Other unusual behavioural changes
- Poor motor skills or loss of coordination
- Falling. Read more here www.agingcare.com/articles/urinary- tract-infections-elderly-146026.htm
Hopefully the above may help you a little with navigating Dementia and the Elderly and how to Cope and what to look out for.