What Is Dementia?

Dementia is a huge topic amongst the Medical Industry, Nursing Homes, Aged Care People and starting to become a popular topic amongst the younger generation. There is no “Age Barrier” anymore as “What is Dementia” question is affecting the young, the old and folks from all parts of life!

What Is Dementia?

So many people start to worry that they have Dementia when they cant remember where they placed their car keys, or remember what they were saying!! Its not the little day to day living issues that causes the onset of Dementia. Its the memory loss, the loss of words, the loss of what happened five minutes before and what happened the day before that is the leading factor of Dementia. It is no longer an older person illness….it is no longer a condition that chooses a certain type of person because of age. It is hitting people from as young as 34 year old!

The Meaning Of Dementia!

What Is Dementia? It is a term that can be used to describe the symptoms of a large group of illness. Dementia causes a progressive decline in a person’s ability to function. Most common symptoms are progressive: Memory loss, confusion, and Intellectual decline and Personality changes.

Common Forms Of Dementia

The most common form is Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for 50-70% of all cases. The forms of Dementia that will be covered in detail are Alzheimer’s Disease, Alcohol Related Dementia, Early or younger onset Dementia and Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration.

Alzheimer’s disease is a physical disease that attacks the brain resulting in impaired memory, thinking and behaviour. The disease is named for the German physician “Alois Alzheimer” who in 1907 first described it. AD can affect adults at any age, but usually occur after age 65. It usually involves confusion, memory loss, and personality changes.

Alcohol related Dementia as the names suggest is a form of dementia that is related to the excessive drinking of alcohol. This affects memory, learning and other mental functions. With the excessive alcohol consumption the nerve cells in the brain become damaged, which can lead to Wenicke/Korsafoff syndrome. Due to the alcohol limiting the absorption of vitamins/minerals from food the brain becomes damaged.

Early or younger onset Dementia is those that are under 65 with some form of Dementia. There are far more undiagnosed dementia cases in Australia than diagnosed, with many of them being younger people. Alzheimer’s Australia believes that there are now 6,600 people under the age of 65 with a diagnosis of dementia.

Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration

Fronto Temporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD) is the name given to dementia where there is degeneration in one or both of the Frontal or temporal lobes of the brain. The frontal lobes (both right and left) determine mood, behaviour, judgement, and self control. Temporal Lobes (right and left) are involved in the organisation of sensory input such as what we hear or see. Damage may lead to changes in behaviour, changes in the way a person feels/expresses emotion/loss of judgement/difficulty placing words or pictures. People with FTLD are likely to develop progressive and irreversible decline in their speech, understanding of words, and the ability to understand acceptable behaviour.

Words make up 7% of our communication, 38% of tone of voice, and 55% of body language – so there are many ways and means of getting our message across.

Coping Strategies For Dementia Residents!

Nursing strategies to accommodate a resident/client with challenging behaviour depend on the behaviour and the why. The behaviour is a reaction to something that is not right for the individual person and usually occurs when the person has a need that is not being met. The behaviour that are challenging are

  • Wandering
  • Agitation
  • Apathy
  • Aggression

Support networks for the carer and client with AD is vital, because caring for a person with AD is highly physical, emotional, and costly. The demands of day-to-day care and the difficult choice to place someone into a care facility are stressful.

Here is a list of some of the support available.

  • “The Alzheimer’s Association”
  • Alzheimer’s Disease Centres
  • Aged and Community Services Australia
  • Alzheimer’s Association National Dementia Behaviour Advisory
  • Careers Australia
  • Commonwealth Carelink Centre
  • Dementia Advocacy and Support networks
  • Palliative Care Australia
  • Residential Care Rights and Public Guardian

What Is Dementia is on everyone’s mind now days. If you are in need of assistance or help then best to seek the support that you need. Dementia residents do need special care, special consideration and trained staff that know how to handle their behaviour. For those families that are caring for Dementia residents then you need to make sure you are taking care of yourself.

Nursing Issues.

2 Responses to What Is Dementia?

  1. Funding For Dementia Care | Nursing Issues on April 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    [...] homes and the Funding For Dementia Care never seems enough. There is more and more causes of Dementia coming forward every single day. Back in 2008 there were 227300 people in Australia confirmed [...]

  2. Nursing Dementia | Nursing Issues on June 8, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    [...] care should be provided to a person with Dementia in a manner that builds on the strengths and ability to live as independent as possible without [...]

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