There are overlapping symptoms for dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as some important differences which impact on providing the safest and most effective delivery of care.
Key elements of both types of the condition usually include the declining ability to think for oneself, and the gradual impairment of memory and communication skills.
There are also some warning signs for Alzheimer’s and you should be on the alert for depression and apathy in behaviour, confusion and disorientation, difficulties in speech and movement and the inability to recall recent conversations or occurrences.
Things can get all the more serious when a loved one starts to forget names and faces, items are lost or misplaced on a regular basis or when conversations or questions are continually repeated. Sleeping patterns can become disturbed or irregular.
All of this has a huge knock on effect on the patient’s self-confidence and esteem, and that of course can contribute to the speed at which the conditions worsens.
“There are some key differences in dementia, Alzheimer’s and other long term conditions which worsen over time, and these are crucial in ensuring the delivery of effective, safe care for the patient.”
Daily tasks which for years we have taken for granted, from getting oneself dressed and cooking food to using television remote controls or setting dials on washing machines or dishwashers, can become hugely onerous. Anxiety can increase and that can lead to wider ramifications including depression.
Other types of dementia, degenerative conditions which damage the cells of the brain and diseases like, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s, may have some of these symptoms in common, but the diagnosis in each case will depend on other symptoms.
For instance, patients with Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) are more prone to experiencing balancing difficulties, sleeping problems and episodes of hallucination than those with Alzheimer’s, even though there is a commonality in other symptoms. Those who have Huntington’s disease or Parkinson’s tend to experience problems with involuntary movements in the early stages.
A challenging condition where early diagnosis is essential
As with many degenerative conditions and diseases, early diagnosis can be a critical factor in giving a patient better care and the supporting environment they need, but with dementia it can be challenging to identify initial symptoms because they can often be a case of forgetfulness. The key is to look for patterns in behaviour, for example, regularly forgetting things, getting disorientated or losing track of time.
At some point with dementia and Alzheimer’s, your personal care or that of a loved one becomes the central issue: the patient simply reaches a point where they can no longer look after themselves. This comes with some more serious signs, perhaps poor personal hygiene or the contents of a fridge containing food well past its sell by dates, coupled with communication problems like repeated questioning and inconsistency in decision making.
And as dementia worsens, symptoms will become all the more magnified. In advanced stages, people and places are no longer familiar and behaviour can be alternately aggressive or depressed.
In these difficult times, Eldermera can step in to provide coordinated dementia care, ensuring that your loved one receives the best care options possible.
Why not schedule a free consultation today?