Identifying Dementia and Knowing When to Seek Help


The Windsor of Cape Coral

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Jul 23, 2023


Florida - Southwest

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Identifying Dementia and Knowing When to Seek Help

Having a conversation about dementia can be difficult for all involved. These conversations are challenging, but they have a meaningful, deeply personal impact on the lives of your loved one and family.

At Legend Senior Living®, our goal is to help those in need find the care they deserve while maintaining respect, independence, and dignity. Over the years, we’ve learned some tried and true tips from residents and their families that can help you have a difficult conversation about dementia.


Signs of Dementia

There are at least 12 well-known types of dementia, and the symptoms are so diverse and can come on so fast, which makes it even more difficult for caregivers. Being aware of the warning signs can help you know what to look for.

Some early signs of dementia include:

  • Difficulty doing chores or other tasks
  • Confusion with everyday tasks
  • Repetition, especially in conversation
  • Emotional flatness
  • Lost interest in hobbies
  • Poor short-term memory
  • Difficulty finding words when talking
  • Getting lost in familiar environments
  • Aggressiveness
  • Restlessness

Different types of dementia and memory disorders

Over a period of time, dementia and other memory disorders cause progressive impairment in stages that lead to an eventual need for complete, full-time caregivers due to inability to function independently. People with dementia can even forget how to walk or sit up straight. The first step is identifying which type of dementia they might have.


Alzheimer’s Disease

One of the most common types of dementia, scientists aren’t quite sure what causes Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s due to an accumulation of abnormal brain proteins. Most cases of Alzheimer’s disease begin between the ages of 40-65, and it typically progresses rapidly.


Frontotemporal Dementia

Frontotemporal dementia is caused by atrophy of the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. It causes forgetfulness and word-finding problems, impulsivity, personality changes, and poor judgement.


Vascular Dementia

The second most common type of dementia, vascular dementia is caused by strokes occurring within the brain. Patients often go without noticing symptoms (like weakness, visual loss, or numbness) because it’s caused by untreated high blood pressure or heart disease.


Mixed Dementia

Mixed dementia occurs when people develop more than one type of dementia simultaneously. It is also called “multifactorial” because many types of memory disorders cause similar brain changes.


Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Associated with abnormal muscle movements and destruction of brain cells, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease typically progresses rapidly over a few years.


Lewy Body Dementia

Robin Williams was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia before his death, prompting scientists to research more about it. It’s characterized by forgetfulness and hallucination, which can seem very real. Those with this disorder often suffer the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, like tremors and slowness.


Traumatic Brain Injuries

Recent studies suggest that concussions and other brain injuries often lead to memory issues and dementia, especially the changes identified in Alzheimer’s disease.


Alcoholic Dementia

Also known as Korsakoff syndrome, alcoholic dementia is caused by a deficiency in B vitamins due to excessive drinking, but can also be caused by malnourishment.


Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s disease causes abnormal movements (chorea), which is the hallmark of the diagnosis.


Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Usually attributed to abnormal enlargement of the fluid-filled spaces in the brain, this type of memory disease leads to problems with walking, memory, and incontinence.


Caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease

The most important part of any dementia or memory disorder diagnosis is to have the support and resources necessary to care for aging loved ones (and provide caregiver relief), as well as a great deal of patience and time to help.

During the early stages of the disease, family members function as caregivers, cooking meals or monitoring medications. Later however, they find themselves providing basic care, such as bathing, dressing, going to the bathroom, etc. This can also include transportation, attending doctor’s appointments, installing safety railing, stairs and locks, and developing procedures to make sure loved ones don’t wander off.

While there’s no way to completely stop the development of dementia, there are ways one can help prevent the disease through heart-healthy diets and regular exercise. If, however, you and your family are dealing with it, Legend Senior Living® can help. We understand these kinds of lifestyle changes can be difficult and have developed award-winning therapies, unique activities and purposefully designed environments to help those with dementia.


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Recognizing Alzheimers Disease and the Benefits of Memory Care

Over 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimers disease, and 3 million new cases are diagnosed each year. More than 747,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimers disease or another dementia.  These staggering statistics mean that you likely know someone or have a loved one who has a form of dementia. In the United States, 11 million people are acting as unpaid caregivers for a loved one with Alzheimers. November is National Alzheimers Disease Awareness Month, an opportunity to learn more about this disease that is deadlier than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.  Alzheimers disease is the most common type of dementia. This progressive disease starts with mild memory loss and involves the part of the brain that controls language, thought, and memory, impacting a persons ability to carry out daily activities. Research has not determined the exact cause of Alzheimers, but it is believed that several factors can play a part in the disease, including:Genetics:  Family history may be linked to developing Alzheimers, though it is not guaranteed that if someone in your family is affected, you will be, too.  Healthy lifestyle choices like exercise, limiting alcohol consumption, not smoking, and eating a healthy diet may help. Age:  This is the best-known risk factor for the disease. Environmental factors:  Science is studying the potential connection. Changes in the brain:  These can happen years before symptoms appear. Since memory loss is not a normal part of aging, knowing the warning signs is important, especially if you have concerns about a loved one. Someone may experience the following symptoms early in the process: Challenges executing familiar tasks at home, work, or during leisure timeDisruptions in daily life due to memory loss, like repeating questions or becoming lost in a familiar placeDifficulties paying bills or handling moneyMood, personality, or behavioral changes Losing items and not being able to figure out how to retrace steps to look for themPoor judgment Memory Care Communities can benefit someone living with dementia as well as give their families peace of mind.  Often located within larger assisted living facilities or in smaller residential settings, these specialized facilities can provide dementia care for residents with middle to late stage memory loss. The environment is secure, and full of safety features designed to enhance memory function and decrease potential confusion for anyone who lives there. Memory Care focuses on giving aging adults a safe environment to stay engaged and active in a structured environment.  Features can include art classes, physical therapy, fitness classes, music experiences, and communal dining to help residents stay socially connected. CarePatrol has been helping families find the right senior care options for their loved ones for over 30 years.  As specialists in the field of aging, CarePatrol Local Senior Care Advisors are able to match older adults to the right communities so they can live their best life, including Assisted Living, Independent Living, Nursing Homes, and Memory Care Communities. Reach out to see how we can help your family today. 

What To Think About When The Unthinkable Happens

I was at a family reunion recently, and I overheard a lady say that one of the challenges of getting old is seeing your parents aging. This lady is probably in her late 50s and she is the caregiver for her mom, who is in her 80s, with very serious health problems. Speaking with the owner of a relatively large business recently, he said that many of his employees are needing to take time off from work. This is because they are caregivers for their parents. This is a sign of the times, and there are an increasing number of people dealing with these issues.This One Is For The CaregiversMost of our presentations and educational content are focused on our clients, whether its retirees in their 60s or seniors in their 70s and 80s. We do estate planning across the generations, but given the increasing number of caregivers taking care of their parents, I wanted to reach out to the caregivers. 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There are essentially two types of Power of Attorney documents:A springing power of attorney is based on the idea that you sign the document while you have the capacity, so that should anything happen, your child can take over. The problem is that nobody ever admits that they are losing capacity, especially if they have dementia. It then becomes a battle if the child needs to use the power of attorney, to act on behalf of a parent.The other type is a durable power of attorney, which you sign while you have your mental faculties. However, the document is effective immediately even if your child may not use it immediately. This type of Power of Attorney is preferred in most situations. Since dementia is progressive in nature, there will likely be a gradual decline in a seniors mental capacity. Over time, the child caregiver will need to take more responsibility to help their parent. Eventually the time will come when the parent cannot manage on their own. 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Recognizing Pain in Seniors with Dementia

Studies suggest a large portion of seniors with dementia have unrecognized, severe pain. A recent study out of the University of Rochester suggests that nearly a third of severe pain cases go unrecognized when seniors have dementia.1-3 Pain in dementia can lead to other problems such as agitation, aggression, hallucinations, delusions, depression, impaired physical function, and increased mortality risk. What can we do?It can be difficult for family caregivers to recognize pain, even severe pain, when loved ones have dementia. Doctors and nurses often rely on reports from family caregivers. When it comes to questions about pain, clinicians should take a moment to try to engage a patient directly. They also need to do observational assessments. Tools such as the Pain Assessment in Advanced Dementia (PAINAD) scale can be used to standardize, quantify, and rate pain assessments. Importantly, tools such as these can guide clinicians in observation techniques that can improve the detection of pain among patients with dementia. Family caregivers can try free tools such as these themselves. Moreover, they can prompt their clinicians to use a pain assessment scale specifically designed for patients with dementia.Pain Assessment in Advanced Dementia Scale (PAINAD): J, Monroe TB, Simning A, Conwell Y, Caprio TV, Cai X, Temkin-Greener H, Muench U, Yu F, Ge S, Li Y. Pain management in home health care: relationship with dementia and facility admissions. Pain Management Nursing. 2021 Feb 1;22(1):36-43.Paulson CM, Monroe T, Mion LC. Pain assessment in hospitalized older adults with dementia and delirium. Journal of Gerontological Nursing. 2014 Jun 1;40(6):10-5.Wu N, Miller SC, Lapane K, Roy J, Mor V. Impact of cognitive function on assessments of nursing home residents pain. Medical Care. 2005 Sep 1:934-9.   

Local Services By This Author

The Windsor of Cape Coral

Memory Care 831 Santa Barbara Blvd., Cape Coral, Florida, 33991

The Windsor of Cape Coral is the premiere assisted living community in Lee County; offering 84 spacious apartments. We are built to Hurricane 5 standards; two-story with two elevators; 24/7 nurse in the community; opened in 2009. Seven spacious floor plans in assisted living, and 14 private room secured memory care with private baths and showers. We have the best activities program by far with over 300 activities per month for our residents and their families.

The Windsor of Cape Coral

Assisted Living 831 Santa Barbara Boulevard, Cape Coral, Florida, 33991

The Windsor of Cape Coral is the premiere assisted living community in Lee County; offering 84 spacious apartments. We are built to Hurricane 5 standards; two-story with two elevators; 24/7 nurse in the community; opened in 2009. Seven spacious floor plans in assisted living, and 14 private room secured memory care with private baths and showers. We have the best activities program by far with over 300 activities per month for our residents and their families. We invite you to come visit us!