What is Dementia?

Portrait of a senior woman on a walk in the park in late springDementia and Alzheimer’s disease may seem like similar conditions, but there are some key differences between them that affect diagnosis and treatment. Alz.org has put together an informational guide on dementia and explains how it is different from Alzheimer’s Disease.  Here are a few facts:

Serious mental decline such as dementia is NOT a normal part of aging.

Dementia is not a specific disease, but a collection of symptoms that affect core mental functioning. For dementia to be considered as a diagnosis, at least two of the following mental functions must be impaired:

  • Memory
  • Communication and language
  • Ability to focus and pay attention
  • Reasoning and judgment
  • Visual perception

Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells. Damage to brain cells can affect the functions that take place in that part of the brain (such as memory or language).

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of all dementia cases.

There is no single test to determine if a person has dementia.

For more information, see the full article at Alz.org.

If your family member is struggling with dementia or Alzheimer’s, we are here to help. Contact Brooking Park Memory Care today at (314) 576-5545.

Risk Factors for Dementia

Portrait of the smiling elderly woman. A photo on the autumn background

Are you or your loved one at risk for dementia? Alz.org has put together an informational guide on dementia and describes risk factors for it.  Here are a few of the risk factors:

  • Age. Age is the greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s and dementia. Generally as you get older you are more likely to develop dementia.
  • Genetics. If you have a family history of dementia, you are more likely to develop it yourself.
  • Cardiovascular risk.  Blood vessel changes in the brain are linked to vascular dementia, a type of dementia which occurs after a stroke.
  • Physical Exercise. Regular physical exercise may reduce risk of dementia by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain.
  • Diet. Current research suggests that eating a heart healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet may help protect the brain.

For more information on dementia risk, visit alz.org.

At Brooking Park we offer top-of-the-line memory care and adult day memory care to assist your family in difficult times. For more information, give us a call at (314) 576-5545.

Know the Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s

05Memory loss and dementia can be a scary thing to see in a family member. Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills.  Alz.org, a leading health organization dedicated to Alzheimer’s research and care, has put together a list of 10 warning signs that may show that your loved one is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Alz.org advises seeing a doctor If you notice any of these signs.

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. If your loved one has short term memory losss, or frequently forgets recently learned information, that could be a potential sign of Alzheimer’s.
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. Alzheimer’s may cause disruption to daily tasks such as following a recipe or handling bills.
  3. Difficulty completing tasks at home, at work, or at leisure. Another sign is trouble with tasks such as driving to a familiar place, or managing a budget.
  4. Confusion with time or place. For example, forgetting where they are or how they got there.
  5. Trouble understanding visual images or spatial relationships: Such as difficulty reading, judging distance or determining color.
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing. Trouble following conversations, repeating themselves, or struggling with vocabulary are warning signs.
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.  Alzheimer’s may cause people to lose things and place things in unusual places.
  8. Decreased or poor judgment. People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble managing their money and performing daily self-care.
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities. if your loved one has been withdrawing from work or social activities, or has trouble keeping up with a favorite hobby, that could be a sign of problems.
  10. Changes in mood and personality. Those with Alzheimer’s may experience mood changes such as suspicion, depression or anxiety.

Infrequent occurrences of these signs, such as missing a monthly payment, occasionally forgetting a word to use, or losing things now and then, may just be indicators of normal aging. However, if symptoms escalate to those described above, you may want to consider finding a doctor who specializes in memory care, or looking into help from an expert memory care community like Brooking Park. We’re here to help!