More Information on Dementia
Dementia is a change in cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, reasoning, and abilities—to such an extent that it changes the way a person participates in daily life and activities. While Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia, the causes of dementia can vary, depending on the types of brain changes that may be taking place. Other dementias include Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal disorders, and vascular dementia.
The affects of dementia between individuals can vary widely based on the cause and progress of the dementia from mildly changing a person’s functioning to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of daily living.
Other conditions may cause memory loss or dementia include:
- medication side effects
- chronic alcoholism
- tumors or infections in the brain
- blood clots in the brain
- vitamin B12 deficiency
- some thyroid, kidney, or liver disorders
- Parkinson’s disease
- Sleep disturbances
Some of these conditions may be treatable and possibly reversible. They can be serious and should be treated by a doctor as soon as possible.
Emotional problems, such as stress, anxiety, or depression, can make a person more forgetful and can be mistaken for dementia. For instance, someone who has recently retired or who is coping with the death of a spouse may feel sad, lonely, worried, or bored. Trying to deal with these life changes leaves some people confused or forgetful. The emotional problems can be eased by supportive friends and family, but if these feelings last for a long time, it is important to get help from a doctor or counselor.
Source: National Institute on Aging, National Institute on Health www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers.
For more information on the Dementia Friendly Movement
Dementia Friendly America – www.dfamerica.org
Dementia Friends – Extensive online training programs: www.dfamerica.org/dementia-friends-usa
Dementia Friendly Massachusetts – www.dfmassachusetts.org
For Additional Reading
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Dancing on Quicksand, A Gift of Friendship in the Age of Alzheimer’s by Marilyn Mitchell
The 36 Hour Day, A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementias and Memory Loss in Later Life by Nancy Mace and Peter Rabins
WWLP-22News on March 5, 2017
Watch Program: Living with Dementia Related Disorders