Dementia Essay, Research Paper
Dementia Talena Bradford
I decided to do a paper on Dementia because I found out about a month ago that my grandmother is suffering from this neurological disease. Dementia is the deterioration of mental functioning resulting from a brain disorder. It is severe enough to interfere with the ability to perform routine activities. This deterioration stems from diffuse bilateral subcortical and cortical brain injury or atrophy. Dementia is caused by infectious diseases, tumors, multiple strokes, and Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s diseases.
This deteoriation of mental functioning includes the loss of memory, concentration, and judgement. Dementia is often accompanied by emotional disturbances and personality changes. It is a severe and significant brain deterioration in elderly individuals, and affects about 7% of people under the age of eighty. The incidence rises sharply for people in their eighties and nineties. An estimated 20% of people in nursing homes have dementia.
The early symptoms of dementia includes disturbances in a person’s ability to grasp the situation he or she is in. As it progresses, memory failure becomes apparent, and the person may forget conversations, the events of the day, or how to perform simple tasks.
There are four different types of dementia. The first one is cortical dementia. This includes Alzheimer’s disease. There is no precise cause of Alzheimer’s disease, but we know that it is associated with old age. It appears to be genetic, and having down syndrome, or a history of head trauma can contribute to Alzheimer’s disease as well. The early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are mild memory problems, some disorientation, and mood changes. The later symptoms include severe memory problems, profound intellectual deteriorating, and emotional ability. Early communication problems include naming (anomia), comprehension problems, and problems maintaining topics. Later communication problems are very empty speech, as well as poor conservation.
The second type of dementia is subcortical dementia. This tends to be associated with physical problems. This includes Parkinson’s disease. This problem is more common in men, and 30-50% of people with Parkinson’s disease will have dementia. The cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown. The symptoms are involuntary movements or tremors, rigidity, face is like a mask (don’t smile a lot or blink) and they tend to walk with short steps. The communication problems are usually not as bad as Alzheimer’s disease, but will see memory problems, problems solving problems, and speech may be affected.
The third type of dementia is infection dementia. This includes AIDS’s Dementia Complex, where the brain shrinks and there are problems with memory, concentration, and apathy. The last type of dementia is Cerebrovascular Dementia. This type of dementia is caused by strokes. The cause is multiple infarct dementia. The main symptom is general intellectual decline.
Before a clinical diagnosis of dementia can be confirmed, there are several key features that must be present. There must be a sustained deteoriation of memory, plus a disturbance in orientation in time and place, problems in judgement and problem solving, community affair problems (shopping or handling finances), home and advocation problems, and problems with personal care. There also must be a gradual onset and progression, as well as the duration must be at least six months.
To treat dementia you can use a variety of techniques. You may use a simple routine and let them keep it. You may want to use compensatory strategies such as having them carry around a memory book, or a little photo album about their life. A trained caregiver should be trained to deal with the patient. They need to use simple language. They can improve communication with a person suffering from dementia by slowing down and simplifying what they are saying. Dementia often means that a person processes information more slowly so you need to avoid correcting their mistakes in memory, and be patient with any repetition of ideas. Also use structured approaches for routine tasks, such as laying out clothes in sequence to help them with dressing.
After finding out all of this information about dementia, I now can see what my grandmother is going through. When I see her, I will now know what she is going through and I know different techniques in how to communicate with her.