The Truth About Dementia


The Truth About Dementia

While many people have friends, friends of friends or family members with dementia, most do not know a lot about the condition, how to care for someone with the symptoms and the diseases that fall under the ‘dementia’ umbrella, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

First of all, what is dementia? According to the Alzheimer’s association, “Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life.1” In other words, dementia is not the name of a particular disease. When it comes to geriatrics, dementia is a broad term that includes several different symptoms, which usually affect simple functions like memory, comprehension, communication, focus and visual perception1.

It is important to note that many geriatric patients struggle with memory loss and focus, but that does not automatically mean they need care or home health for dementia conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Please seek medical care for their advice and guidance on what might be happening. While there is not a specific test to diagnose dementia, a combination of1 “a careful medical history, a physical examination, laboratory tests, and the characteristic changes in thinking, day-to-day function” will help the doctor to make a research-supported assessment1.

Dementia typically comes into question when someone struggles with average daily activities that they used to complete without a problem1. Because of this, as dementia becomes apparent for geriatrics patients, many times, home health care and nurses who make house calls are needed to care for the person1.

In brief, dementia is a result of damage to brain cells, which inhibits the brains ability to transmit messages, causing them to struggle with communication, thought and behavior1.

According to the Alzheimer’s association, 60 to 80 percent of geriatric patients who receive care or home health for dementia have Alzheimer’s disease. With that said, there are other conditions outside of Alzheimer’s that fall under the dementia umbrella. For example, vascular dementia is a condition that causes impaired judgment and other symptoms related to the location of past brain injuries, blood vessel blockage and/or bleeding. Other conditions include mixed dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Frontotemporal dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Huntington’s Disease, among others2.

Unfortunately, as of now, there is no established treatment or cure for dementia treatment, care or prevention, but there are medicinal ways to temporarily care for the symptoms. As research develops – so will our treatment, care options and prevention methods for the generations ahead1.

1Alzheimer’s Association (2014) What is Dementia? Retrieved April 28, 2014 from

2Alzheimer’s Association (2014) Types of Dementia. Retrieved April 28, 2014 from