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Category Archives: Dementia
Alzheimer's and dementia basics Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. Learn more: What We Know Today and Understanding Dementia.
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The most common early symptom of Alzheimer's is difficulty remembering newly learned information.
Just like the rest of our bodies, our brains change as we age . Most of us eventually notice some slowed thinking and occasional problems with remembering certain things. However, serious memory loss, confusion and other major changes in the way our minds work may be a sign that brain cells are failing.
The most common early symptom of Alzheimer's is difficulty remembering newly learned information because Alzheimer's changes typically begin in the part of the brain that affects learning. As Alzheimer's advances through the brain it leads to increasingly severe symptoms, including disorientation, mood and behavior changes; deepening confusion about events, time and place; unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers; more serious memory loss and behavior changes; and difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.
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Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia | Alzheimer's Association
About dementia Find out what how typical age-related memory loss compares to early signs of Alzheimer's and other dementias. Learn the signs.
Dementia is not a specific disease. It's an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person's ability to perform everyday activities. Alzheimer's diseaseaccounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases. Vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke, is the second most common dementia type. But there are many other conditions that can cause symptoms of dementia, including some that are reversible, such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies.
Dementia is often incorrectly referred to as "senility" or "senile dementia," which reflects the formerly widespread but incorrect belief that serious mental decline is a normal part of aging.
Learn more: Common Types of Dementia, What is Alzheimer's?
Many people have memory loss issues this does not mean they have Alzheimer's or another dementia
Learn more: Visiting Your Doctor
While symptoms of dementia can vary greatly, at least two of the following core mental functions must be significantly impaired to be considered dementia:
People with dementia may have problems with short-term memory, keeping track of a purse or wallet, paying bills, planning and preparing meals, remembering appointments or traveling out of the neighborhood.
Many dementias are progressive, meaning symptoms start out slowly and gradually get worse. If you or a loved one is experiencing memory difficulties or other changes in thinking skills, don't ignore them. See a doctor soon to determine the cause. Professional evaluation may detect a treatable condition. And even if symptoms suggest dementia, early diagnosis allows a person to get the maximum benefit from available treatments and provides an opportunity to volunteer for clinical trials or studies. It also provides time to plan for the future.
Learn more:10 Warning Signs,7 Stages of Alzheimer's
If your doctor tells you that your loved one has dementia, it means he's got a brain condition that causes problems with thinking and memory. It's important to understand the different types so he can get the right kind of treatment.
Although most types of dementia get worse over time, there are drugs that might help with some of your loved one's behavior changes and other symptoms.
This is the most common type of dementia, and it affects about 5 million Americans.
If someone you know has Alzheimer's, you'll notice symptoms such as memory loss and trouble planning and doing familiar tasks.
The symptoms are mild at first but get worse over a number of years. Your friend or relative might:
If a relative or friend of yours gets this type of dementia, it's usually because he's had a major stroke, or one or more "silent" strokes, which can happen without him realizing it.
The type of dementia symptoms depend on the part of the brain that's affected by the stroke.
While Alzheimer's usually begins with memory problems, vascular dementia more often begins with poor judgment or trouble in planning, organizing, and making decisions.
Other symptoms may include:
Lewy bodies are microscopic deposits of a protein that form in some people's brains. They're named after the scientist who discovered them.
More than 350 people attended the wedding reception of Donna Lou Young and Henry V. Rayhons in Duncan, Iowa, on Dec. 15, 2007. Family and friends ate pork roast and danced polkas to celebrate the union of a widow and a widower, both in their 70s, who had found unexpected love after the deaths of their long-time spouses.
For the next six-and-a-half years, Henry and Donna Rayhons were inseparable. She sat near him in the state House chamber while he worked as a Republican legislator. He helped with her beekeeping. She rode alongside him in a combine as he harvested corn and soybeans on his 700 acres in northern Iowa. They sang in the choir at Sunday Mass.
We just loved being together, Henry Rayhons says.
Today, hes awaiting trial on a felony charge that he raped Donna at a nursing home where she was living. The Iowa Attorney Generals office says Rayhons had intercourse with his wife when she lacked the mental capacity to consent because she had Alzheimers. She died on Aug. 8, four days short of her 79th birthday, of complications from the disease. One week later, Rayhons, 78, was arrested. He pleaded not guilty.
To convict Rayhons, prosecutors must first convince a jury that a sex act occurred in his wifes room at the Concord Care Center in Garner, Iowa, on May 23. If prosecutors prove that, his guilt or innocence will turn on whether Donna wanted sex or not, and whether her dementia prevented her from making that judgment and communicating her wishes.
The State of Iowa vs. Henry Rayhons offers a rare look into a complex and thinly explored dilemma that will arise with increasing frequency as the 65-and-over population expands and the number of people with dementia grows. It suggests how ill-equipped nursing homes and law enforcement agencies are to deal with the nuances of dementia, especially when sex is involved. The combination of sex and dementia also puts enormous strains on family relationships, which turned out to be a critical element in the Rayhons case. His four children are supporting him. Two of Donnas three daughters played a role in Rayhons investigation. Through their attorney, Philip Garland, the two declined to be interviewed for this story.
Sexual assault laws years ago recognized that a spouse cannot force himself or herself upon the other. Dementia confuses the issue. People with dementia can lose past inhibitions about sex and become aggressive about seeking it. They might be unable to balance a checkbook while theyre perfectly capable of deciding whether they desire a partners affections.
Experts in geriatrics say that intimacy -- from a hug to a massage to intercourse -- can make dementia sufferers feel less lonely and even prolong their lives. Love complicates things further.
By many accounts, Henry and Donna Rayhons were deeply in love. Both their families embraced their marriage. The case has produced no evidence thus far that the couples love faded, that Donna failed to recognize her husband or that she asked that he not touch her, said Rayhons son Dale Rayhons, a paramedic and the familys unofficial spokesman.
Based on evidence generated so far, state prosecutors are likely to portray Rayhons as a sex-hungry man who took advantage of a sweet, confused woman who didnt know what month it was, forgot how to eat a hamburger and lost track of her room.
Use It or Lose It: Dancing Makes You Smarter Richard Powers
Most recently we've heard of another benefit: Frequent dancing apparently makes us smarter.
A major study added to the growing evidence that stimulating one's mind by dancing can ward off Alzheimer's disease and other dementia, much as physical exercise can keep the body fit. Dancing also increases cognitive acuity at all ages.
You may have heard about the New England Journal of Medicine report on the effects of recreational activities on mental acuity in aging. Here it is in a nutshell.
The 21-year study of senior citizens, 75 and older, was led by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, funded by the National Institute on Aging, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Their method for objectively measuring mental acuity in aging was to monitor rates of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.
The study wanted to see if any physical or cognitive recreational activities influenced mental acuity. They discovered that some activities had a significant beneficial effect. Other activities had none.
They studied cognitive activities such as reading books, writing for pleasure, doing crossword puzzles, playing cards and playing musical instruments. And they studied physical activities like playing tennis or golf, swimming, bicycling, dancing, walking for exercise and doing housework.
One of the surprises of the study was that almost none of the physical activities appeared to offer any protection against dementia. There can be cardiovascular benefits of course, but the focus of this study was the mind.
There was one important exception: the only physical activity to offer protection against dementia was frequent dancing.
Bicycling and swimming - 0%
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Dancing Makes You Smarter - Social Dance at Stanford
"For some years now, Tom Kitwood's work on dementia care has stood out as the most important, innovative and creative development in a field that has for too long been neglected. This book is a landmark in dementia care; it brings together, and elaborates on, Kitwood's theory of dementia and of person-centred care in an accessible fashion, that will make this an essential source for all working and researching in the field of dementia care." Robert Woods, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Wales
"Over the last ten years or so Tom Kitwood has made a truly remarkable contribution to our understanding of dementia, and to raising expectations of what can be achieved with empathy and skill. This lucid account of his thinking and work will communicate his approach to a yet wider audience. It is to be warmly welcomed." Mary Marshall, Director of the Dementia Services Development Centre, University of Stirling
* What is the real nature of the dementing process? * What might we reasonably expect when dementia care is of very high quality? * What is required of organizations and individuals involved in dementia care?
Tom Kitwood breaks new ground in this book. Many of the older ideas about dementia are subjected to critical scrutiny and reappraisal, drawing on research evidence, logical analysis and the author's own experience. The unifying theme is the personhood of men and women who have dementia - an issue that was grossly neglected for many years both in psychiatry and care practice.
Each chapter provides a definitive statement on a major topic related to dementia, for example: the nature of 'organic mental impairment', the experience of dementia, the agenda for care practice, and the transformation of the culture of care.
While recognizing the enormous difficulties of the present day, the book clearly demonstrates the possibility of a better life for people who have dementia, and comes to a cautiously optimistic conclusion. It will be of interest to all professionals involved in dementia care or provision, students on courses involving psychogeriatrics or social work with older people, and family carers of people with dementia.
Key features: * One of the few attempts to present the whole picture. * Very readable - many real-life illustrations. * Offers a major alternative to the 'medical model' of dementia. * Tom Kitwood's work on dementia is very well known
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Dementia Reconsidered: the Person Comes First ...