Dementia is defined as an ‘insidious decline in cognitive abilities, including memory loss, language, confusion and disorientation.’ It can also be the ‘loss of intellectual abilities severe enough to interfere with social and occupational functioning.’
Some symptoms may be reversible; some are progressive but some may be permanent. These include:
- Alcohol or chemical abuse
- Depression (which is a vicious circle!!)
- Hypo- or Hyperglycemia
The irreversible causes of Dementia include:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Lewy Body Dementia with Parkinsonian Symptoms
- Vascular Multi-Infarct Dementia
- Frontal Temporal Lobe Degeneration
- Mixed Dementia
- Brain Injury (chronic traumatic encephalopathy); due to Sports Injuries!!!!
When it comes to diagnosing Dementia, as a caretaker, you must ensure that your client:
- Goes to their primary care physician; if their doctor does not listen, CHANGE DOCTORS! Look for a specialist in geriatrics. Go in with your client to get the lowdown!
- Make certain that your client receives a complete physical in order to identify the causes of Dementia.
- Your client may require a neurology exam (most likely a Cat scan or an MRI or both)
- Do your research and make certain that they get a neuropsychological evaluation (which is a battery of tests to check the lobes and functions of the brain to see what is and what is not working)
- One is to test for memory loss
- One other is cognitive
To ensure that With Age Comes Respect, you need to take note of everything told to your client. That way they will get the best treatment possible!