Many people have issues with memory, which doesn’t necessarily mean they have a form of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. There are many different causes of memory problems, like vitamin deficiencies or thyroid problems. If you or a loved one is experiencing memory loss symptoms, a memory screening is a great place to start. Early diagnosis is key to making a plan for the best treatment and dealing with dementia.
When we hear the term ‘dementia’, we usually think it means Alzheimer’s disease, but that’s not always the case. While Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of cases, dementia is not a single disease. Dementia is an overall term used to describe a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. People with dementia may have problems with short-term memory, like keeping track of their keys or wallet, leaving their neighborhood, paying for their meals, and preparing food. Many dementias are considered to be progressive which means symptoms start out slowly and eventually get worse over time.
Stages of Dementia
There are three main stages of dementia. The first stage, mild dementia, may result in sadness, anxiety, and loss of interest in activities once loved. You may notice that your loved one has difficulty with remembering words or names and has a tough time with new information. As a family member or caregiver, you may be unsure of where to go or how to manage the diagnosis yourself. In the early stages, preparing yourself to make decisions together regarding the future and their care is vital.
Moderate dementia is the second stage of dementia. Physical function and judgement are affected at this stage. This can be very physically and emotionally challenging for a caregiver. Those in this stage may make accusations towards loved ones or get aggressive with behavior or speech. It’s important to remember that they are not doing this on purpose. Trying to identify the root of the issue and what has triggered the behavior may help to prevent or change the outcome in the future.
The third stage is severe dementia which may require around-the-clock care. At this stage, those suffering from dementia may have trouble recognizing loved ones or caregivers. They may have limited mobility and may lack control and require assistance when it comes to restroom habits, eating, etc. This can be a very stressful time for both loved ones and caregivers.
Hope In Research Studies
While dealing with dementia can be difficult, upcoming research studies at the Neuropsychiatric Research Center of Southwest Florida may be an option. Candidates who qualify and participate may receive study-related care at no cost and receive access to study medication. Compensation for time and travel may also be available. To learn more and find out if you or someone you love may qualify for upcoming studies, click here.