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DEMENTIA

What is Dementia - Symptoms, types, treatments and causes of dementia explained

This guide will help you understand Dementia, the symptoms, treatment and causes.

September 29, 2021

Elderly lady living with Dementia

There are over 850,000 people in the UK who are currently diagnosed with dementia. If you know someone living with dementia and want to learn more so you can help them this is the article for you.

In this guide to dementia, we will look at the different types of dementia, symptoms, causes, treatments and also cover the most frequently asked questions when it comes to dementia.

Below is a great video from the Alzheimers society explaining what dementia is in a few minutes.

 

When most people hear dementia they think it's one disease but it isn't.  

Dementia is a general term given to illnesses that affect a person's memory, language or thinking skills.

The most common form of Dementia is Alzheimer's which I'm sure many of you would have heard of. It's estimated that 80% of all dementia illnesses will be Alzheimer's related. However, there are other forms of dementia that we will cover in this article.

Table of contents

 

Isn’t dementia part of normal ageing?

Dementia isn't a normal part of ageing and most adults will grow old without getting dementia. People may confuse forgetting the smallest of things such as misplacing your house keys as a symptom of dementia but as we grow old this is common and normal.

Dementia is more common as we age, with one-third of 85-year-olds experiencing one form of Dementia, but it's not a normal part of ageing.

 

The different types of Dementia

Various factors contribute to a person developing dementia. When a person's brain becomes damaged, the brain cells can't communicate with each other. This causes an interference with a person's ability to speak, think and even changes how they feel.

There are different types of dementia that are associated with the part of the brain where brain cell damage has occurred.  

 

8 types of Dementia

8 types of dementia infographic

(Image courtesy of Be Independent home care)

 

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's carer

Alzheimer's Disease is the most common form of dementia and is estimated to make up to 80% of all dementia-related cases. Alzheimer's is caused by a high level build up of amyloid plaques and tau protein tangles within the brain that make it difficult for your brain cells to stay healthy and communicate with each other.

One of the first areas of the brain to become damaged with a person who has Alzheimer's is an area of the brain called the Hippocampus. The Hippocampus is responsible for learning and retaining memories.

When the cells in the hippocampus area of the brain become damaged a person will have trouble learning new information and holding onto their old memories. That's why early symptoms of Alzheimer's include memory loss.

Alzheimer's is a progressive disease meaning that it worsens over time.  

With early-stage Alzheimer's the memory loss will be minimal but as the disease progresses to late stage Alzheimer's a person will lose the ability to interact with their surroundings.

On average a person with Alzheimer's will live between 4 to 8 years.  

Alzheimer's was the leading cause of death in England and Wales in July 2021.

 

Stages of Alzheimer's

There are three stages of Alzheimer's known as early, middle and late stage. As Alzheimer's is a progressive disease a person will start off with mild symptoms and get worse as the disease progresses.

Stages of Alzheimers infographic

(Image coutesy of Brain Test 

Early or mild stage Alzheimer's

A person with early or mild stage Alzheimer's will still be able to function in everyday life. They will be able to look after themselves independently and will be able to take part in everyday activities such as driving, going for walks, watching TV, socialising and so on.

In the early stages of Alzheimer's symptoms may not be obvious to the person but others around them may start to notice them becoming more forgetful.

A person with early stage Alzheimer's will have difficulty learning new information.

 

Middle stage or moderate Alzheimer's

The middle stage of Alzheimer's is usually the longest and someone living with Alzheimer's can be in this stage for years.

Generally, a person with middle-stage Alzheimer's will still be able to perform activities with assistance.

In the middle stage of Alzheimer's symptoms will be more obvious and it will be more difficult for the person to carry out tasks without help.  

 

Symptoms of middle stage Alzheimer's

A person suffering middle stage Alzheimer's can expect:

  • More erratic mood changes.
  • Loss of memory.
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control.
  • Loss of situational awareness.
  • Change in sleep pattern.

If you are a carer of someone going through middle stage Alzheimer's you should look to see what help is available to you. Respite care can help give you a break while the person suffering from Alzheimer's gets the care and attention they need while being in a safe environment.

 

Late stage or severe Alzheimer's

Late stage Alzheimer's is the final stage of Alzheimer's and the person living with the disease will need around the clock care.

At this final stage of Alzheimer's, a person will stop interacting with their environment, the people within it and lose control of their movement.  

A person with late stage Alzheimer's will lose the ability to eat, walk, sit down and communicate pain to their caregivers.

A person with late stage Alzheimer's will need a high level of care which most of us aren't able to provide so at this point it will be worth looking at facilities that can provide the care and attention your loved one needs.  

It's a good idea to run these choices past the person with Alzheimer's in the early stages when they can make these decisions for themselves.

 

50 dementia facts infographic

(Image courtesy of Blue Bird Care)

 

Vascular Dementia

Elderly man doing a jigsaw

Vascular dementia is the second most common form of Dementia which affects over 150,000 people within the UK. Vascular dementia causes a decline in thinking skills and is caused by a lack of blood flow to different areas of the brain.

The lack of blood flow restricts the oxygen and nutrients getting to the brain and as result causes brain cell damage. When the brain becomes damaged you can have problems with your memory, thinking and reasoning skills.

Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking can all increase the risk of vascular dementia so controlling these factors will lower your risk.

The level of cellular damage within the brain will determine the severity of the symptoms of vascular dementia.  

 

Symptoms of vascular dementia

Typical signs and symptoms of vascular dementia include:

  • Confusion.
  • Lack of situational awareness.
  • Unable to communicate.
  • Slower reaction times.
  • Unable to plan or organise.
  • Memory loss.
  • Difficulty with balancing.
  • Unable to control their bladder.

Vascular dementia symptoms can be most apparent after a stroke, but they can also be gradual like Alzheimer's. Unfortunately, people who suffer from Alzheimer's can also suffer from vascular dementia at the same time.

Like Alzheimer's, vascular dementia can have a limiting effect on your life expectancy and according to the British Heart Foundation, people who are diagnosed with vascular dementia on average live around 5 years after the symptoms begin.

 

Preventing vascular dementia

Keeping your blood vessels healthy goes hand in hand with keeping your heart healthy and to do so you will need to:

  • Lower the bad cholesterol within your body.
  • Keep your blood sugars within the normal range.
  • Maintain healthy blood pressure.
  • Exercise.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Eat a healthy diet.


Can vascular dementia be reversed?

Unfortunately, vascular dementia cannot be reversed. Treatment is available to prevent further damage and slow the progression of the disease.

At this time there is no cure for vascular dementia.

 

Lewy Body Dementia

Neurons in Parkinsons

Lewy body dementia is caused by protein deposits (alpha-synucleins) known as Lewy bodies which develop in sections of the brain that are responsible for storing memories, regulating movement and critical thinking.

Lewy body dementia is a progressive illness that will get worse over time.  

 

Lewy body dementia symptoms

Symptoms of Lewy body dementia include:

  • Hallucinations.
  • Loss of mobility.
  • Cognitive issues.
  • Lack of sleep.
  • Loss of attention.
  • Loss of regulation of bodily functions.

A person living with Lewy body dementia can suffer from hallucinations and see, hear, feel, taste and smell things that aren't there.  

Parkinsonian signs are also a symptom of Lewy body dementia as a person living with the disease will experience a loss of mobility, muscles will become rigid, movement will become slower and tremors are also common. All of these symptoms can result in a fall which could be fatal to an older person.  

If you are a carer of someone living with Lewy body dementia and you are concerned with them falling when you aren't around, a personal alarm can help give you peace of mind.

Lewy body dementia also affects a person's memory and can leave them feeling confused.

 

Treating Lewy body dementia

There is no cure for Lewy body dementia and while certain medications and physical therapy may help with managing the symptoms there is no known treatment to slow the progression of the disease.

After a diagnosis of Lewy body dementia, most people will live between 5 and 7 years.

 

Frontotemporal Dementia

Dementia illustration

Frontotemporal dementia is also known as FTD and is one of the least common forms of dementia.

Frontotemporal dementia occurs when there is damage to the nerve cells in the Frontal or Temporal lobe in the brain.  

The Frontal and Temporal lobes are responsible for regulating behaviour, emotion and store the meaning of words.

 

Types of Frontotemporal Dementia

There are two types of Frontotemporal dementia, the behavioural variant and the primary progressive aphasia also known as PPA.

 

Behavioural Variant

The behavioural variant of Frontotemporal dementia occurs when there is damage to the frontal lobes. As the name suggests, damage to the frontal lobe affects the person's behaviour, emotions and critical thinking skills. 

 

Primary progressive aphasia

When the temporal lobes are damaged it can affect a person’s ability to remember the meaning of words as well as recognise objects and faces. 

Aphasia meaning difficulty in communicating, a person living with PPA may lose the ability to speak and also lose the understanding of language.

 

Symptoms of Frontotemporal dementia

Frontotemporal dementia is a progressive disease that will get worse over time.  

For some, Frontotemporal dementia can be a steady decline while others will see a rapid deterioration in their health. The severity of symptoms and the progression of the disease will depend on the amount of damage and the areas of the brain that are damaged.

Typically people living with Frontotemporal dementia will experience:

  • A change in behaviour. Often becoming more inappropriate in terms of social conventions. This could be anything from being more aggressive to making sexual gestures in public.
  • Lack of empathy and apathy.
  • No motivation for activities they used to enjoy.
  • Lack of organisational skills.
  • Frequent mood changes.
  • Unable to understand or use language.
  • Lose the ability to recognise people.
  • Obsessive-compulsive behaviours.


Diagnosing Frontotemporal dementia

A person with Frontotemporal dementia is often not the person to notice that something may be wrong. Frontotemporal dementia is often noticed by family members or friends as they start to pick up on the behavioural changes.

A person living with Frontotemporal dementia may not know they have something wrong with them and could be reluctant to seek medical advice. However, it's very important to see a medical professional as soon as possible so the right level of care can be provided.

 

Later stages of Frontotemporal dementia

A person living with Frontotemporal dementia on average can live between 7 and 14 years from diagnosis. As the disease progresses, symptoms of Frontotemporal dementia become similar to those of Alzheimer's.

At the later stages of FTD full-time care will be needed.

 

Huntington's Disease

Huntington's Disease

Huntington's disease is a hereditary disorder of the central nervous system and it is passed on from a person's parents.

Huntington's disease is rare and can develop at any time. Often symptoms are seen in adults around 30 or 40 years old.  

Huntington's disease can affect a person's movement, thinking skills and mood.

Approximately 6700 people are living with Huntington's disease in the UK or 12.4 people per 100,000.

 

Symptoms of Huntington's disease

The main symptoms of Huntington's disease include:

  • Irritability.
  • Depression.
  • Involuntary movement.
  • Unable to learn new information.

Huntington's Disease is also known as Huntington's Chorea. Chorea is the name given to the involuntary movement which gets worse over time. The average lifespan for someone diagnosed with Huntington's Disease is 15 to 20 years.

According to the NHS, you are 50% likely to develop Huntington's disease if either or both parents also have it.

Huntington's Disease treatment

Like many of the other dementia diseases, there is no known cure or way of reversing Huntington's disease. Some medications can help with some of the symptoms but Huntington's is a progressive disease that will get worse over time.

 

Parkinson's Disease Dementia

Elderly man with Parkinsons

Parkinson's disease is a progressive brain disorder where damage has occurred in the substantia nigra area of the brain. The substantia nigra area of the brain is known for controlling a person's movement.  

When the substantia nigra area of the brain is damaged a person will experience tremors, stiffness and slowness of movement.

 

Parkinson's Disease symptoms

The main signs of Parkinson's disease include:

  • Tremors. 
  • Slowness in movement.
  • Stiffness.
  • Loss of balance.
  • Loss of smell.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Memory problems.
  • Depression.
  • Trouble swallowing.
  • Constipation.

Parkinson's disease can affect people differently. Usually, the disease will affect one side of the body before the disease gets worse and affects both sides.

Early symptoms of Parkinson's disease can be easily missed. 

If you are concerned and have symptoms of Parkinson's Disease you should talk to your GP and they will be able to refer you to a specialist to confirm Parkinson's.

 

Treating Parkinson's Disease

The substantia nigra area of the brain is responsible for making a chemical called dopamine. When the substantia nigra is damaged the amount of dopamine that is produced is lessened.

Treatment usually includes a drug called levodopa which will turn into dopamine in the body. Levodopa is known to cause nausea and sickness so your doctor may also prescribe a drug called carbidopa to minimise these side effects.

Although treatment can help, Parkinson's is a progressive disease that will worsen over time. The effects of Parkinson's over time can make a person vulnerable to life-threatening infections.

 

Posterior Cortical Atrophy

Dementia scan

Posterior Cortical atrophy occurs when the cortex area of the brain becomes damaged. The cortex is responsible for processing visual information.

It's not known if Posterior Cortical atrophy is a variant of Alzheimer's because just like Alzheimer's amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles can be found within the damaged area of the brain.

 

Posterior Cortical atrophy symptoms

Posterior Cortical atrophy affects people differently, however common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty reading.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Sensitivity to bright light.
  • Difficulty judging distances.
  • Difficulty picking up objects.
  • Unable to recognise familiar people or objects.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Day to day memory loss.


Treating Posterior Cortical atrophy

There are no known treatments for Posterior Cortical atrophy. However, like many of the other dementia diseases, medicines may be able to help with some of the symptoms.

 

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Diagram of brain

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus is a brain disease caused by excess cerebrospinal fluid in the brain's ventricles.

This excessive fluid damages brain tissue that can then cause issues with walking, thinking and reasoning.  

The disease can be caused by tumours, infections, haemorrhages and injury.  

 

Symptoms of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Possible symptoms of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus include:

  • Difficulty walking.
  • Loss of balance.
  • Falling more often.
  • Loss of bladder control.

The symptoms of normal pressure hydrocephalus are similar to Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases, so you will need to consult with a specialist to confirm diagnosis.

Normal pressure hydrocephalus can be confirmed by monitoring the way a person walks, with a CT scan and by taking a sample of the person's cerebrospinal fluid.

 

Treating Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Normal pressure hydrocephalus is usually treated via surgery where something called a shunt is inserted into your brain to drain excessive fluid.

This fluid then runs into your abdomen so that your body can absorb it which will allow your ventricles to return to their normal size. This treatment doesn't always work and getting diagnosed with normal pressure hydrocephalus as quickly as possible can help with treatment.

 

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Medical form with diagnosis

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is a very rare brain disease that progresses very quickly. Typically someone diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease will die within 1 year of diagnosis.

 

Symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Someone with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease will deteriorate very quickly and within a few months can experience:

  • Memory loss.
  • Insomnia.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Unable to communicate.
  • Blindness.
  • Inability to think.

As Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease progresses a person will fall into a coma where they will suffer from heart or lung failure and eventually die.

 

Causes of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is caused by proteins known as prions becoming misshapen in the body which leads to them infecting and causing irreversible damage to nerve cells.

 

Types of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

There are 4 main types of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. These include: 

  • Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.
  • Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.
  • Inherited Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.
  • Iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is the most common type and affects 2 people per million every year in the UK. Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease happens when normal brain tissue misfolds and turns into a prion.

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is likely caused by eating meat from a cow that had "mad cows disease" also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

 

Inherited Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Inherited Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is very rare and is thought to affect 1 person in every 9 million in the UK. When Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is inherited the prion protein gene is passed on and causes prions to form in a person's brain during adulthood.

 

Iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is usually caused by contamination from a medical procedure where the medical instruments used in the procedure were contaminated.  

 

Treatment of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

There is no known treatment for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

 

Korsakoff Syndrome

Bottles of alcohol

Korsakoff Syndrome is a chronic memory disorder often caused by alcohol misuse but it can also be caused by cancers, poor nutrition and aids.

Korsakoff Syndrome is caused by a deficiency in Vitamin B-1.

 

Symptoms of Korsakoff Syndrome

  • Confusion.
  • Vision problems.
  • Balance and movement issues.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Faster heartbeat.
  • Short term memory loss.
  • Hard to make new memories.


Korsakoff Syndrome and Wernicke encephalopathy

Wernicke encephalopathy often proceeds Korsakoff Syndrome because of the lack of Vitamin B-1 in the body, because of this the disease is often referred to as Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome.

 

Treating Korsakoff Syndrome

It's important to treat Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome as soon as possible as damage often can't be reversed. However, If you catch the syndrome early on you could make a full recovery.

 

Mixed Dementia

Elderly lady with carer

Above we have covered the main types of dementia that a person may suffer from. Unfortunately, it's possible for someone to have more than one type of dementia at the same time and as a result, they can suffer from the symptoms of the different diseases.

Alzheimer's and Vascular dementia are the most common combined forms of dementia, although other forms such as Alzheimer's and Lewy Body dementia are also a common combination.

 

What are the symptoms of mixed dementia?

The symptoms of mixed dementia will depend on which forms of dementia that the person has. Often one dementia will be more dominant than the other.

 

Treating mixed dementia

Certain medications may help with some of the symptoms of dementia as there is no treatment to cure the disease. As the disease progresses a person will develop more severe dementia which will lead to death.

 

The importance of getting diagnosed with dementia early

Although there is no known treatment for dementia, getting diagnosed early could help you manage symptoms easier and can also get you the level of care for yourself and your family that will be needed.

If you are worried you are showing potential dementia symptoms or you are worried about a family member then you should make an appointment with your GP or encourage your family member to do so as soon as possible.

A GP will talk to you about your symptoms and will refer you to a specialist to confirm a dementia diagnosis.

If a dementia diagnosis is confirmed you will then be able to ask any questions about your condition, how it will progress, what treatment is available to you and even the support groups available in your local area.

 

Caring for someone with dementia

Dementia care and support

Caring for someone with dementia is challenging and can often make you feel frustrated, depressed and isolated. If you do begin to feel like this make sure to speak to a health care professional as your health is equally as important.

Dementia often makes communication very difficult and if something a person is saying to you doesn't make sense don't argue with them and try to find meaning behind what they are trying to say.

When speaking to someone with dementia, slow down your speech and try to avoid questions that will have multiple answers or open-end answers. Instead, aim for questions with a "yes" or "no" answer.

You should also provide the person with dementia choices as this can limit frustration. For example, offering them the choice between two outfits or two activities can help them feel involved in their lives.

Creating a memory book for someone living with dementia is also a good idea as it can help them remember important parts of their lives. It can also help health care workers understand a little more about a patient and could help them understand what that person may and may not like.

The Alzheimer's society has a leaflet that can be used to also show a person's interests and dislikes which can be useful if a person is to go into hospital.

 

Creating a safe environment

Dementia safe home

Dementia can affect a person's eyesight, blood pressure, balance, memory and mobility. All of these can increase the risk of injury so if you are looking after someone with dementia you will need to make their home as safe as possible.

You can minimise the risk of trips and falls by getting rid of any items in the home such as ill-fitting carpets, clutter, rugs and uneven surfaces that can increase the risk of a fall.

If you are concerned that the person you are looking after is likely to fall, we have fall alarms that can automatically alert one of our agents in an emergency even if the person is unable to speak.

 

Living with dementia

Dementia is a disease that not only affects you but it also affects your loved ones. Being informed on your condition can help you make more educated decisions on your care before your condition progresses.

It's important to know that dementia affects everyone differently and you should focus on the things that you can do now rather than the negatives.  

By putting the right care into place you can live with dementia for years.

If you live alone you should talk to your GP about the support that is available to you and you can also talk to others who have dementia on forums such as:

Depending on the type of dementia that you have your memory will be affected in different ways. To help with your everyday life you can make your home as dementia-friendly as possible.

Having a calendar with important events marked on it will help you remember if you need to attend an appointment or special occasion while keeping your keys in a bowl in the hallway can help you from losing your keys.

You can also keep a list of phone numbers by your phone so in an emergency, you can call a loved one. If using a phone is too difficult you may want to consider investing in a personal alarm system.

 

Getting help

As your dementia progresses everyday tasks will become more difficult and your level of care will need to be increased. If you need help you should apply for it as soon as possible. You can contact your local council for a needs assessment and if accepted you can get help with everything from:

  • Specialised equipment.
  • Adaptations to your home such as a stair lift or a walk in bath.
  • Home care such as cleaning or shopping.

You can apply for a needs assessment on the government's website here.

 

Talking about your dementia

Woman sharing concerns

Being diagnosed with dementia is going to be challenging and it is going to change your life.

Talking to others and letting them know about your dementia is going to help. Others may not understand what you are going through and they could become frustrated with you if they don't know what you are going through.

Some people may think you don't listen to them or have no interest in what they have to say. If you explain to them your condition and what it could affect, people are more understanding and will be able to help you with your journey.

 

Moving to a care home

As your dementia progresses looking after yourself or having someone care for you at home may not be enough especially towards the later stages of the disease.

Dementia is a difficult disease for family and friends and looking after someone with dementia can be exhausting. When this happens a care home can provide the level of care needed.

Going into care can be expensive but there is help out there. Your local council may be able to help with partial or full funding depending on the capital you own.

 

Preventing Dementia

Mother and daughter

There is no known way of preventing dementia, however, there have been studies that show promising results.

Keeping your mind and body engaged through mental exercises and physical exercise could delay the onset of dementia along with reducing the symptoms of the disease.

Maintaining a healthy diet, getting good sleep and improving your cardiovascular health could also have a positive impact on dementia.

Quitting smoking and reducing your alcohol intake could also help.

 

Donating to Dementia UK

Dementia is a disease that affects the entire family and when the disease progresses families often struggle to provide the care the person may need and they often don't know where to turn.

Dementia UK is the only UK charity set up to support people with dementia as well as their families. Unfortunately, they can't help everyone and you can help support them by leaving a donation in your will.

 

Dementia FAQs

Dementia is a complex disease and we have tried to cover every aspect of it. Here are some more questions about dementia that we are frequently asked.

 

What is vascular dementia?

Vascular dementia is the second most common form of Dementia which affects over 150,000 people within the UK. Vascular dementia causes a decline in thinking skills and is caused by a lack of blood flow to areas of the brain.

 

How does a person die from dementia?

When someone dies from dementia it's often caused by another condition as a result of the body breaking down from the symptoms of dementia. Depending on the type of dementia a person has they could die from pneumonia, heart or lung failure.

 

When should someone with dementia go into a care home?

A person with dementia should go into a care home when their needs aren't being met. A family may also send a person with dementia into a care home if looking after them becomes too exhausting.

 

How to prevent dementia?

There is no known preventative treatment for dementia, however, studies have shown promising results where a person looks after their health through mental and physical exercise along with a good diet rich in nutrients and vitamins.

 

What is the difference between Dementia and Alzheimer's?

Dementia is a blanket term for conditions that cause damage to the brain while Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia.

 

What are the 7 stages of dementia?

  1. Normal behaviour - No signs of dementia.
  2. Very mild cognitive decline - Misplacing of objects and forgetting names and places.
  3. Mild cognitive decline - Friends and family will start to notice a cognitive decline. The person will have memory loss and could ask the same question over and over again.
  4. Moderate cognitive decline - At this point, a healthcare professional should be spoken to. The person will have trouble with daily routine tasks.
  5. Moderately severe cognitive decline - At this stage, a person will need additional help as everyday tasks will be impossible to carry out alone.
  6. Severe cognitive decline - At this stage a person with severe cognitive decline will need help with bathing, eating and going to the toilet. At stage 6 a person with dementia will have problems recognising a loved one.
  7. Very severe cognitive decline - This is the final stage of dementia and a person living with the disease will need around the clock care.

 

What are the early signs of dementia?

Early signs of dementia include:

  • Forgetting appointments
  • Have problems planning tasks and carrying them out.
  • Lack of orientation.
  • Forgetfulness of words and meanings.
  • Changes in mood and behaviour.

 

What stage of dementia are you in when you sleep most of the day?

As dementia progresses a person will become weaker and even trying to communicate can be exhausting. Typically people who sleep more with dementia are in the later stages of the disease.

 

What are the final stages of dementia?

The final stages of dementia are severe cognitive decline and very severe cognitive decline. Both stages of the disease will require care as a person will no longer be able to look after themselves on their own.

 

How can you help someone with dementia?

There are various ways you can help someone with dementia. 

You could help keep them physically and mentally active, you can help them with eating, cleaning, bathing and going to the toilet.

You can also take your time to understand what they are trying to communicate with you and you can also ask them questions with a yes or no type answer.

 

What is the clock test for dementia?

A clock test is a tool for screening for neurological problems such as dementia.

A clock test is carried out by a medical professional where a person is handed a piece of paper and is asked to draw a clock along with a specific time on the clock face.

An abnormally completed clock (without hands, numbers in the wrong place, etc) would indicate further tests are needed.

 

How does dementia affect communication?

As dementia progresses a person may forget the meaning of words and they may also forget words in general. This makes communication difficult and as the disease progresses a person will lose the ability to communicate.

 

How to get a dementia patient into a nursing home?

The first part of getting someone with dementia into a care home is to ask for a needs assessment from your local council. The UK government website has more information on this.

 

How do you calm down someone with dementia?

Dementia is a frustrating disease and it can be difficult to care for someone living with it. Calming someone down with dementia can be done by listening to the person's frustrations and reassuring them that you are there to help and that they are safe.

You may also create a more calming environment for them through lighting and ambient noise. Playing calming music is a good way to provide a distraction so the person can calm down.

 

How long does the aggressive stage of dementia last?

The type of dementia you have will determine how long the later stage will last. For example, the later stages of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease could last a few months while the aggressive stage of Alzheimer's could last 1-2 years.

 

 

How much does dementia care cost?

Dementia care can cost anywhere between £100,000 and £500,000. Person's with assets below £23,250 are eligible for funding for this care from their local council.

 

What is dementia tax?

The dementia tax refers to the expense that a family has to undergo to provide care for a loved one without help from the government. The average cost per year to look after someone with dementia is £32,000 with two-thirds of this being covered by family members. This expense is known as the dementia tax.

 

At what age do you get dementia?

Dementia is more common with people over the age of 65 but there isn't an age milestone that you reach and then dementia begins. 


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