Dementia is not a specific disease but a term that covers a collection of symptoms relating to cognitive impairment. Different symptoms will present themselves dependant on which area of the brain is affected.
Someone who has difficulty remembering or struggles to reason is likely to be suffering from cortical dementia. The cerebral cortex controls our ability to remember and an example of this type of dementia would be Alzheimers and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. If the part of the brain that is affected is the area beneath the cerebral cortex this would be known
Huntingtons disease and Parkinson’s disease are both associated with subcortical dementia.
Other forms of dementia include vascular dementia which is triggered by a blockage in the arteries that travel to the brain. The damage that ensues is likely to result in difficulty with communication skills, being unable to reason, slower reaction times, memory loss and lack of coordination and in many instances can also show its damage in violent behavior.
Taking care of someone suffering from a degenerative mental illness such as dementia is likely to become more and more difficult as the disease progresses. The conditions may take many years to fully take over and you may only notice minor symptoms in the initial stages. There are many trains of thought that believe in maintaining the individual in their own home environment with all their memories around them and knowing their way around their home, however, unless they are closely monitored they could become a danger to themselves if they perhaps left on a ring of the cooker or started to wander.
Due to technical advances, it may be possible to install a closed circuit tv system into the home of a loved one with dementia so that you can observe them without them having to give up on their independence until full-time residential care is required.
You can find useful information regarding elderly dementia care from the following organizations:
The Alzheimers Society https://www.alzheimers.org.uk Carers UK www.carersuk.org Carers Direct NHS help and advice for carers www.nhs.uk/carers direct/Pages/CarersDirectHome.aspx.
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