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Common Types of Dementia & What You Can Expect

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While many people think of dementia as one disease, it’s actually an umbrella term for a spectrum of conditions characterized by cognitive decline severe enough to interfere with daily life. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 50 million people live with dementia globally, with nearly 10 million new cases each year. These numbers are profound, but what resonates beyond the statistics are the individual effects people experience through the common types of dementia.

Offering memory care in Guntersville, Alabama, our team at Lakeshore Senior Living understands how confusing navigating a dementia diagnosis can be. Because of this, we are sharing information on the common types of dementia and what you can expect from each.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease remains the most prevalent type of dementia, comprising 60-80% of all cases. Characterized by the buildup of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain, Alzheimer’s disease results in gradual cognitive decline. Symptoms typically manifest in individuals 60 and older, with stages that weaken logical progression and memory.

Like all types of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition where symptoms begin with mild cognitive impairment and evolve into significant memory loss, confusion, and mood swings.

Other common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty with language and communication
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems
  • Confusion with time or place

Vascular Dementia

Following Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia. However, where symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease worsen gradually, symptoms of vascular dementia are more immediate. Caused by conditions that block or reduce blood flow to the brain, depriving them of oxygen and nutrients, vascular dementia can come on more suddenly.

The symptoms range from subtle cognitive changes to severe decline, all contingent upon the area and the extent of the brain affected. These symptoms can include physical stroke symptoms like a sudden headache, numbness or paralysis on one side of the body, difficulty with balance, incontinence, and even mild depression.

Lewy Body Dementia

According to the National Institute on Aging, “Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a disease associated with abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain.” These protein deposits are referred to as “Lewy bodies” and affect how the brain functions, leading to symptoms such as:

  • Visual hallucinations
  • Unpredictable changes in concentration, attention, alertness, and wakefulness
  • Muscle rigidity or stiffness
  • Tremor or shaking
  • Stooped posture

Frontotemporal Dementia

Frontotemporal dementia encompasses syndromes that predominantly affect behavior and language, depending upon whether the neurons associated with the frontal or the temporal lobe are most affected.

Common symptoms of this type of dementia include:

  • Loss of empathy
  • Lack of judgment
  • Increased apathy
  • Trouble using and understanding written and spoken language
  • No longer knowing words or meanings
  • Difficulty naming items or using a more generic word for what they are trying to reference

Mixed Dementia

It’s important to note that different types of dementia do not always exist alone. In fact, it is common for individuals to experience multiple types of dementia at once – this is referred to as mixed dementia. One of the most prevalent pairings of mixed dementia is Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, though other combinations are possible. Because different types of dementia are present, symptoms associated with each type can present themselves.

Symptoms of dementia are relative to each individual, meaning no two people experience the exact same symptoms. Because of this, dementia can be difficult to diagnose.

The Importance of Early Detection

The importance of early detection cannot be overstated. It provides the individual experiencing the signs and their family with the time and the resources to not just understand the diagnosis but to plan and find the best possible memory care in Guntersville, Alabama.

Memory Care at Lakeshore Senior Living

Our memory care neighborhood, The Harbor at Lakeshore, cultivates a nurturing environment for individuals living with all types of dementia. Through specialized programs and personalized support, residents of our memory care community in Guntersville, Alabama, receive the care they need to thrive.

Some of our offerings include:

  • Music therapy
  • Reminiscent therapy
  • Scheduled outings and trips
  • 24/7 support, including assistance with activities of daily living
  • On-site salon and barber shop
  • Restaurant-style dining
  • And more

Navigating a dementia diagnosis can be confusing and overwhelming, but educating yourself about the common types of dementia and researching care options enables you to make informed decisions regarding the next steps of your journey.

We invite you to visit our website or contact a member of our team to learn more about what we offer at Lakeshore Senior Living!

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