What Is Dementia?

Author

Home Instead

Posted on

Jul 09, 2021

Book/Edition

Florida - Southwest

Share This
For more information on the author Home Instead Naples, CLICK HERE.
Did you know that every three seconds, someone in the world is diagnosed with dementia? Millions of people across the world have dementia and millions more are supporting those living with dementia. But, what exactly is dementia? And, why is there a stigma associated with it?

Defining Dementia
Dementia is a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. There are many types of dementia, the most common type is Alzheimer's disease. When an individual is living with a form of dementia, the brain is experiencing changes due to the pathology or disease in the brain. As the disease progresses, the individual will exhibit symptoms.


10 Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's

Memory loss that disrupts daily life
Difficulty completing familiar tasks
Challenges with planning and problem solving
Confusion with time and place
Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
New problems with words in speaking or writing
Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
Decreased or poor judgment
Withdrawal from work or social activities
Changes in mood and personality

If these symptoms become noticeable to those close to the individual, it is important to schedule a medical appointment to help identify the root cause of these symptoms. If it is in fact dementia, it is imperative to get an early diagnosis.

Overcoming the Stigma
While there is currently not a cure for Alzheimer's disease, it does not mean life is over for an individual after a diagnosis. It is important to overcome the negative stigma by acknowledging who the individual is and was before the diagnosis. So often people living with Alzheimer's disease experience strain on family relationships, a withdrawal from friendships or exclusion from conversations by medical professionals. We can do our part to reduce the stigma by talking directly to the person living with dementia, empowering them with independence and supporting them when needed.
Caring for Someone with Dementia
When there is a dementia diagnosis, a person-centered care approach may be one approach considered to support the individual. The foundations for this approach include:
Getting to know the person
Maximizing independence
Personalizing care to meet individual needs and preferences
Adjusting care approaches to reflect day-to-day needs and abilities
Providing ongoing opportunities for engagement that have meaning and purpose

Other Articles You May Like

How Dementia Impacts Motor Skills

As we age, we experience many physical, mental and emotional changes. It is common for a senior adult to experience some limited forgetfulness or notice an ache that has recently developed, but in some cases these symptoms may indicate the onset of dementia. There is a growing body of evidence that cognitive issues like dementia exhibit an extended preclinical stage that could begin years or even decades before an official diagnosis. One of the preclinical symptoms of dementia is the onset of issues with motor skills. Regarding balance and coordination, it can be difficult to differentiate between normal age-related changes and the decline of motor skill that may place older adults at an elevated risk for dementia.Once a dementia diagnosis is confirmed, family members will probably become gradually more aware of the changes in the patients cognitive and organizational capabilities. They may also notice their family member is struggling with everyday tasks like dressing themselves or walking without assistance. Loss of stamina and coordination may also point to more extensive brain damage.Exercise Can Help with Dementia and Motor SkillsResearch has shown that regular physical exercise is integral to the health and wellbeing of patients who are living with preclinical or clinical symptoms of dementia. As with any new exercise regimen, any physical exercise must be deemed safe and enjoyable for the patient and inspire feelings of accomplishment. While individuals of any age should ask their doctor for approval before beginning a new exercise routine, it is especially critical for a senior looking to improve motor skills through movement.A physical therapist is an excellent starting point when developing a new exercise routine for those with motor skill impairment. These professionals can help to create an exercise regimen that will boost stamina, flexibility and balance and recommend exercises that will prevent issues associated with falling. If the patient does not have access to a physical therapist, the American Physical Therapy website can provide information regarding any local professionals and resources. Your family members doctor, nurse, or social worker may also be able to provide recommendations as to the right contact.Exercise that is most appropriate for senior citizens may include walking, swimming, dancing, gardening or even light housework. All of these suggestions are affordable and require little to no equipment, but they will go a long way to cultivating feelings of accomplishment and self-worth. These types of activities provide social and cognitive stimulation. Any activity that involves music can intensify and elevate the positive results. (Read more about how music can benefit a wide variety of individuals facing cognitive difficulties.)Any activity that works to improve fine motor skills will benefit the patient. The ability to navigate food packaging, successfully open and close buttons or zippers, or use a spoon and fork gives dementia or early-stage Alzheimers patients the opportunity to maintain their independence for as long as possible. An occupational therapist (OT) can recommend exercises and adaptive gear that will further assist with their home life.Other Ideas to Improve Motor SkillsSome senior adults dont like the thought of exercising, regardless of the potential benefits. However, if you are interested in working with your family member to retain cognitive capability and motor skills as long as possible, here are some additional recommendations to encourage that goal.arts and crafts projectsscrapbooking or working with photoscooking or baking (if safe)painting or drawingcontainer gardeningFind a Residence That Enhances Quality of LifeMy Care Finders is a team of senior care professionals working in the Florida community. We help families to locate the best assisted living, memory care or senior residence solution for their loved ones, by matching desires and budgets with the most highly rated facilities. Call us today to learn more about how our FREE services can benefit your family.

Iron Deficiency in Women: Can You Be Iron Deficient Without Anemia?

You need iron to produce and maintain healthy red blood cells. When you lack enough iron youre at risk for developing anemia. But what you may not realize is that you can have low iron levels without being diagnosed as anemic. Its true that iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia, which is why doctors might rule out an iron problem if you test negative.If you have anemia, your red blood cell count is too low, commonly causing fatigue and weakness. About 20% of the worldwide population has iron-deficiency anemia, making it one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the world. Your body needs iron to make enough healthy red blood cells.But three times as many people have low iron levels with a healthy amount of red blood cells. And doctors might not look any further or discover you are low in iron. If left undiagnosed and untreated, iron-deficiency can progress until your red blood cells diminish and you become anemic.Lets take a closer look at the symptoms and signs of iron deficiency without anemia and how its treated.Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Without AnemiaSo the diagnosis is different but are the symptoms the same? Will you suffer the same side effects as a person with diagnosed anemia? In some ways, yes. Both conditions share the most common symptoms, such as:Fatigue and lethargyTrouble focusing and concentratingMood changesWeakness while activeAnytime you notice these symptoms, its worthwhile to check with your doctor. Women should have their iron levels checked at least occasionally since women are very prone to iron-deficiency due to menstruation and childbirth. Your doctor can order blood tests to learn more about your iron and red blood cell count.Think of iron deficiency as a factory that falls behind production demands. It might take weeks for it to fall below the minimum productivity mark, and once it does, its tough to catch back up. Its the same with our iron stores. If we experience several different factors that are draining our iron stores, well use them up more quickly and be less equipped to rebuild them.What Causes Iron Deficiency?You may find one cause of low iron or three. Sometimes its a combination of factors. But the most common causes include:Not getting enough iron through food or supplementsNeeding more iron than usual (heavy bleeding, surgery, childbirth, etc.)Poor iron absorptionYoure more likely to develop iron deficiency if you:Are a vegetarian or vegan (meat, especially red meat, is iron-rich)Are pregnantAre still growing (children and teens)Are an athleteHave active celiac disease or inflammatory bowel diseaseHave had gastric bypass surgeryExperienced changes in stomach acid from H. pylori infection or from using proton pump inhibitors (a class of medication that treat acid reflux)Are of childbearing age, especially if your periods are heavyHave lost blood due to surgery or internal bleedingWhat Do Ferritin and Hemoglobin Have to Do with Iron Deficiency?Ferritin plays a critical role in iron deficiency, because it's a protein that stores and releases iron when needed. When youre running low on iron, your body pulls it from your ferritin reserves, and if not replenished, these stores can become depleted. This means that you can have low ferritin and temporarily have normal iron levels.According to the World Health Organization (WHO) low iron is equivalent to ferritin under 12 mcg/L. But other studies suggest you could be considered iron deficient with ferritin levels under 30 mcg/L. Blood tests are available to determine to ferritin levels and blood saturation.Hemoglobin can be impacted when your iron levels drop low enough for long enough. Its the part of your red blood cells that carry oxygen. But you need iron to make healthy red blood cells and hemoglobin. So the less iron in your bloodstream, the less hemoglobin, and the less oxygen your cells receive. This is what triggers that list of symptoms, including fatigue.What Is Anemia?You're diagnosed with anemia if your ferritin and hemoglobin (and red blood cells) are both low. This is considered iron-deficiency anemia and is very common. But if your hemoglobin is unaffected even though your ferritin is normal, its considered iron deficiency without anemia. However, if your ferritin levels dont improve, its likely to progress to anemia as youre unable to produce enough iron to make red blood cells and hemoglobin.Blood tests to diagnose anemia usually include ferritin and hemoglobin. Your doctor and run other tests to learn more about your red blood cells and how healthy they are. This can provide a more detailed picture of what is going on in your body.How Much Iron Do You Need?Women who menstruate require 18 mg of iron each day to maintain health. You may need more if youre pregnant or nursing. If you're postmenopausal you need 8 mg daily.You can get iron from several food sources, but the most easily absorbed iron comes from red meats. However, you can get plant-based iron from leafy green vegetables, beans, lentils, and iron-fortified breakfast cereals.How Do You Treat Iron Deficiency without Anemia?Your doctor will first consider your diet and recommend that you adjust your diet to include quality sources of iron. But if you have problems absorbing iron, this wont be enough. Often supplements are also advised.In more severe cases, your doctor might recommend iron infusions. When you receive iron infusions, you receive iron through an IV (intravenously). This is done over several visits. It gets iron into your system in greater quantities and more quickly.After treatment, whether through infusion or supplements, youll likely have follow up visits to see how the treatment is working and if there are any changes in your blood test results.How Much Iron Should You Take?You should have doctor supervision while taking iron supplements. Taking iron when your levels are within normal range can be dangerous. Elevated iron levels can also cause serious health problems.Your doctor will likely prescribe a supplement that delivers 28-50 mg of iron. The average supplement provides 15 mg of iron per serving.Iron Deficiency and Celiac DiseaseAccording to the American Gastroenterological Association recommendations, anyone with unexplained iron deficiency should be tested for celiac disease.If you have celiac disease, a protein found primarily in wheat sets off an autoimmune response causing your immune system to attack your small intestines. The resulting damage makes it difficult to or impossible to absorb the nutrients from food your body needs. The small intestines are where most nutrient absorption happens.Other Celiac SymptomsFor some people, iron deficiency, or even anemia, is the primary symptom of celiac disease.You might have few, if any, gastrointestinal symptoms.Additional celiac symptoms include:DiarrheaConstipationAbdominal painNausea/vomitingLactose intoleranceUnexplained weight loss or gainFatigueMemory problemsBone or joint pain/arthritisBone lossSkin rashesMouth ulcersHeadachesIrregular menstrual cycleThis is just a short list of possible celiac symptoms, and remember that you might not have any symptoms at all other than low iron levels. Its also possible to have only non-digestive symptoms. Or, the digestive symptoms could be so subtle that you dont connect them to a possible celiac problem.Some evidence suggests that if your main digestive system is iron deficiency but with no digestive symptoms, your celiac disease may be more severe than those with additional symptoms.But once you have been on a gluten-free diet for a while, your small intestines can begin to heal. Your symptoms should also decrease.Treating Iron Deficiency When You Have Celiac DiseaseIf you have celiac disease, increasing dietary iron may not benefit you much. If your small intestines havent healed, you wont be able to absorb much or any of the iron from food. Its still important to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. This will allow you to gain the nutrition that you can while also helping you avoid other consequences of an unhealthy diet.If you have celiac disease, youll need to rely more on supplements, and especially those that are easier to digest.Maintaining Healthy Iron Levels to Prevent DeficiencyDetecting low iron levels is the first step. Oftentimes, iron deficiency goes undetected until symptoms worsen. If you have unexplained fatigue, hair loss, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, and weakness during activity, you should see your doctor to rule out low iron levels.Be sure to eat a healthy, iron-rich diet and take iron supplements as your doctor prescribes. If your doctor hasnt been able to determine an obvious cause for your iron deficiency, you should test for celiac disease. Typically a blood test is first and, if warranted, is followed by an endoscopy to confirm small intestine damage.A gluten-free diet will eventually allow your small intestines to heal and perhaps begin absorbing iron properly again. But until then, youll need to continue taking an iron supplement.Tye Medical offers premium incontinence products in a variety of sizes and absorbency levels. Shop our online store for free and discreet shipping on all orders. 

What to Know About HRT Patches and Menopause

Your journey through menopause can range from mildly uncomfortable to downright unbearable. But thanks to modern medicine, you dont have to endure the most taxing of menopause symptoms. For some women, HRT patches are the answer to a smoother transition to menopause.Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) patches are medicated sticky patches you apply to your skin. The patches contain hormones like estrogen, and doctors recommend them to ease menopause symptoms.The use of HRT patches brings many questions about safety, benefits versus downsides, and other forms of HRT available. Here is what you need to know about HRT patches.Uses for HRT PatchesHRT patches slowly release small amounts of hormones into your body. Often, HRT is prescribed to alleviate menopause symptoms but is also recommended to help with other conditions like:Increasing estrogen levels in women who dont make enough naturallyPreventing bone diseases, like osteoporosis, in postmenopausal womenHRT patches contain the hormone or combination of hormones that you need. This means that some patches may be estrogen-only or a combination of estrogen and another hormone like progesterone. You might hear estrogen-only patches referred to as subdermal estradiol patches. Estradiol is the synthetic, bioidentical form of estrogen.Can You Switch from Another Type of HRT to a Patch?If you have completed the transition to menopause, meaning that your periods have stopped, you can start an HRT patch immediately without ever having used HRT before. You can also begin HRT patches right away if you are switching from another type of combined HRT that is also continuous release.However, not all HRT types are continuous release. Some are sequential combined HRT, which means you take a combo hormone medication on certain consecutive days followed by a break. In this case, its best to wait until you complete your current cycle of medication before switching to the HRT patch.Even knowing this, you should consult with your doctor before switching from your current HRT medication to HRT patches.Benefits of HRTAs mentioned, hormone replacement therapy patches are frequently used to treat moderate to severe menopause symptoms. This can improve your quality of life as your body goes through a major hormone shift.Common menopause symptoms that can become burdensome but improve with HRT include:Difficulty sleepingMemory problemsUrge incontinence (urgent urination)Hot flashesVaginal dryness, itching, burningAnxietyDepressionNight sweatsMood changesDecreased libidoVaginal infectionsUsing HRT patches and other forms of HRT can drastically reduce menopause symptoms.What Other HRT Options Are Available?HRT tablets are the most common way to receive hormone replacement therapy. HRT tablets are proven to reduce and even prevent common menopause symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. They are typically taken once daily with water. Like patches, Oral HRT contains different combinations of hormones in varying strengths and are prescribed according to your specific needs.HRT gels are applied directly to your skin. They usually contain estradiol, a synthetic, bioidentical form of estrogen.HRT sprays also contain estradiol. You spray them on your skin and allow it to absorb.Which option you choose is a matter of preference, and your doctor may suggest a method that would be most effective for your specific hormone needs.Why Use HRT Patches Instead of Other HRT Forms?Suppose your menopause symptoms fluctuate erratically and are difficult to regulate with other HRT methods. In that case, the continuous release of hormones through the patch can bring consistency to your symptoms while decreasing their severity.You may also opt for HRT patches if you struggle to remember to take pills or have difficulty swallowing them. The patch is a practical way to solve both issues and ensure you receive your medication on schedule and in the proper dose.Other forms of HRT can also cause indigestion and even blood clots. Indigestion isnt an issue with patches like it is with pills, and the chances of developing blood clots are lower with an HRT patch. Additionally, if youre overweight, smoke, or are migraine sufferer, youre more prone to blood clots and can benefit from using the patch instead of other forms.Some doctors prefer to prescribe HRT patches because absorbing hormones through the skin means they bypass your liver. This can prevent damage to your liver over time. Its also possible that bypassing the liver makes patches more effective.Downsides of Using the HRT PatchSide effects from hormone replacement therapy are rare but can happen.Side Effects of HRT PatchesSide Effects of HRT TabletsWeight gainWeight gainHeadachesHeadaches and nauseaSkin irritationSkin irritationMenstrual painBreast painStomach cramps and diarrheaBack painDischarge from vaginaIf you experience any of these side effects while taking an HRT treatment, you should consult with your doctor.Tips for Using HRT PatchesThe most common places for patch placement are your lower abdomen (below your waistline) and your upper buttock area.For your HRT patch to be most effective, you should NOT apply it to the following areas:BreastsCreases or folds of skinLight exposed areasUnder tight clothing or elasticOily, damaged, or irritated skinOnce you apply your patch, avoid using creams, lotions, or powders in the area.How to Apply an HRT PatchOpen the package and remove the patch.Peel the backing from the patch and press the sticky side against the skin on your lower abdomen or upper buttock.Press firmly on the patch for 10 seconds using your palm or fingers. Ensure the edges of the patch are firmly fixed.Wear the patch continuously until its time to remove it then gently peel it off.Once removed, fold the patch in half, pressing the sticky sides together. Dispose of it securely to keep it away from children and pets.If you have a sticky residue on your skin afterward, wait 15 minutes and then use oil or lotion to remove the residue.How Long Should You Wear a Patch?The length of time you wear the patch varies by brand and other circumstances. You may apply a patch once or twice a week for a specific amount of time or wear it continuously for three weeks followed by a week without a patch. Its also possible that you wear the patch all the time, replacing it immediately with a fresh one.Regardless, you must wear the HRT patch according to your doctors prescription. Usually, your patch will remain fixed even during bathing or showering. But if your patch falls off, you can apply a new one to a different area once your skin is cool and dry.Are HRT Patches Safe?Hormone replacement therapy patches are largely considered safe and effective but arent the best option for everyone. If any of the following applies to you, using the HRT patch may not be advisable. Be sure to consult your doctor.Have had an allergic reaction to estrogen, progesterone, or other hormoneAre experiencing unexplained vaginal bleedingHave ever been diagnosed with breast cancer, endometrial cancer, or have a greater risk of developing themAre pregnant or breastfeedingHave had a recent heart attack, stroke, or anginaHave a history of blood clots or are more susceptible to themHave any of the following conditionsLupusDementiaUntreated endometrial hyperplasiaObesityMigraines or severe headachesDiabetesAsthmaHigh blood pressureEpilepsyUnderactive thyroidLow liver functionSome of these are very common conditions, which means that HRT is not a viable option for many people. HRT isnt recommended for some of these conditions, like hypothyroidism, because of HRTs negative interaction with the medications that treat them. Thats why you should discuss your medical conditions, all medications, and supplements youre taking with your doctor.Lifestyle Changes to Alleviate Menopause SymptomsYou can help reduce menopause symptoms further and increase the effectiveness of HRT when you adopt some key lifestyle changes like:Regular exercise: It can reduce hot flashes, boost your mood, and improve sleep quality.A cool bedroom: Sleeping in a cool bedroom can help prevent hot flashes and night sweats while you sleep.Cut back on alcohol and caffeine: If you regularly consume alcohol and caffeine youre more likely to experience hot flashes.Avoid spicy food: Spicy food is known to trigger hot flashes.Reduce stress: Since menopause can affect your mood, its important to keep your stress levels as low as possible to help manage emotions.Use herbal supplements: Some herbal supplements can help reduce menopause symptoms. Talk to your doctor about which supplements may be best for your symptoms.Stop smoking: Smoking increases the frequency of hot flashes and also increases your risk of conditions like heart disease and cancer.HRT for MenopauseIf lifestyle adjustments like exercise, stress reduction, and herbal supplements dont provide enough relief from troublesome menopause symptoms, then HRT can be an effective option for some women. Your doctor will know if you have any health conditions that would prevent you from safely using HRT patches or other forms of hormone replacement therapy.Its a matter of preference which form of HRT you choose, whether patches, tablets, gels, or sprays. Your doctor can guide you in which type of HRT is best for your needs.Side effects from HRT are possible, and you should notify your doctor if you experience any. 

Local Services By This Author

Home Instead

Home Health 11181 Health Park Blvd., Ste. 3060, Naples, Florida, 34110

Home Instead in Naples provides personalized in-home senior care services to aging adults in the Naples area. Our professional caregivers, known as CAREGivers, are dedicated to enhancing the aging experience by providing practical support with a human touch.Senior care services from Home Instead help to enhance the aging experience by providing practical support at home with a human touch. Our professional caregivers immerse themselves into wherever home is to assist with common activities of daily living and build a lasting relationship with you and your family.Our home care services can help aging adults stay engaged in everyday life with tailor-made support by professional caregivers to stay safe and well at home. Its our mission to provide a care plan personalized to your familys needs to bring comfort, connection, and quality of life in the place that they love the most, their home.Interested in joining our team of professional caregivers? Home Instead offers rewarding careers for individuals passionate about assisting seniors with activities of daily living. We are looking for compassionate individuals to join us in making a difference in the lives of seniors. View all available jobs and apply now to become an Entry Level CAREGiver with Home Instead.

Home Instead

Non-Medical 11181 Health Park Blvd., Ste. 3060, Naples, Florida, 34110

Home Instead in Naples provides personalized in-home senior care services to aging adults in the Naples area. Our professional caregivers, known as CAREGivers, are dedicated to enhancing the aging experience by providing practical support with a human touch.Senior care services from Home Instead help to enhance the aging experience by providing practical support at home with a human touch. Our professional caregivers immerse themselves into wherever home is to assist with common activities of daily living and build a lasting relationship with you and your family.Our home care services can help aging adults stay engaged in everyday life with tailor-made support by professional caregivers to stay safe and well at home. Its our mission to provide a care plan personalized to your familys needs to bring comfort, connection, and quality of life in the place that they love the most, their home.Interested in joining our team of professional caregivers? Home Instead offers rewarding careers for individuals passionate about assisting seniors with activities of daily living. We are looking for compassionate individuals to join us in making a difference in the lives of seniors. View all available jobs and apply now to become an Entry Level CAREGiver with Home Instead.