PSP is the acronym for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. This is a rare brain disorder that damages the upper brain stem. This includes the substantia nigra or the movement control center in the mid part of the human brain.
Sometimes this disorder may be confused with Parkinson’s disease since the substantia nigra is affected in the same ways. This is also the reason that an overlap in motor symptoms or loss thereof may be shared by these disorders.
The eyes are especially affected. The eye movements become slow and limit the mobility of the eye.
Other symptoms include loss of balance, unexplained falls, general body stiffness, apathy and depression. If your client has been diagnosed with PSP, you may witness them having a quick change in emotion; suddenly laughing or crying. This is called the pseudobulbar affect.
As the disorder progresses, your client may experience blurred vision. They may take on a characteristic vacant stare that suggests a loss of all facial expression. Their speech may become slurred. They may choke easier because swallowing solid foods and liquids becomes difficult.
Although your client could present with symptoms early on, they could live more than a decade with them before they worsen to the point of complete destruction. Dextromethorphan has been approved in treatment of the pseudobulbar affect. Dextromethorphan is a common ingredient found in many cough syrups.
AGD or Argyrophilic Grain Disease is actually quite common. It is a late-onset degenerative disease characterized by tau deposits. The tau deposits are termed argyrophilic grains in the areas of the brain that involve the memory and human emotion.
It is sometimes hard to distinguish AGD from late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD) because the signs and symptoms are indistinguishable. The only true way of knowing is when the client passes that an autopsy is performed.
The more we learn about the varying forms of Dementia, the more complicated elderly caregiving can become. The only way to truly show through your job that With Age Comes Respect is to learn everything that you can, when you can, so that you keep one step ahead of the competition!