Monday, January 8, 2024
As January unfolds, it not only marks the beginning of a new year but also stands as a pivotal moment for national awareness regarding Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Designated as Alzheimer's Awareness Month, January serves as an opportunity, inviting everyone to learn more about dementia.
At the heart of Alzheimer's Awareness Month is a collective effort to shine a spotlight on Alzheimer's disease, which accounts for the majority of dementia cases worldwide. This progressive neurodegenerative condition impacts memory, cognition, and daily functioning. January becomes a rallying point for communities, healthcare professionals, and organizations to unite and educate the public about the multifaceted challenges faced by individuals with Alzheimer's and their families.
But did you know there are different types of dementia as well as different stages of dementia? We’ll explore the most common types of dementia, shedding light on their unique features and potential causes.
Vascular dementia is the second most common type and typically occurs as a result of reduced blood flow to the brain, often due to stroke or other vascular issues. The symptoms can vary depending on the location and extent of the brain damage, but they commonly include difficulties with planning, organizing, and problem-solving. Risk factors for vascular dementia include hypertension, diabetes, and a history of strokes.
Lewy Body Dementia (LBD)
Lewy Body Dementia is characterized by the presence of abnormal protein deposits called Lewy bodies in the brain. Individuals with LBD may experience visual hallucinations, fluctuating alertness, and motor symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease, such as stiffness and tremors. Cognitive decline and memory loss are also prominent features of Lewy Body Dementia.
Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)
Frontotemporal Dementia is a group of disorders characterized by the degeneration of nerve cells in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. Unlike Alzheimer's, FTD often affects younger individuals, typically between the ages of 40 and 65. Behavioral changes, language difficulties, and problems with executive function are common symptoms of frontotemporal dementia.
In some cases, individuals may exhibit characteristics of more than one type of dementia. This is known as mixed dementia, and it often involves a combination of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. The coexistence of different pathologies can complicate diagnosis and management.
As the world collectively observes Alzheimer's Awareness Month in January, it is an opportune time to unravel the intricate tapestry of dementia. Dementia is a complex and multifaceted syndrome with various underlying causes. Understanding the different types of dementia is crucial for accurate diagnosis and appropriate management.
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Are you hosting any holiday gatherings where you have invited elderly relatives who have health conditions? You have probably already thought about accessibility accommodations such as helping them into your home and ensuring they have access to a bathroom. Those elements are very important and should not be overlooked.
Another element that should not be overlooked is how to make the overall
environment more manageable for your elderly loved ones, especially when there are health conditions to consider.
To help facilitate these needs and more, you can create a Quiet Zone for your holiday gathering.
Part of the beauty of a Quiet Zone is that it can meet the needs of so many different health conditions. It is one solution that actually meets numerous needs simultaneously. It may even be appealing to younger family members too!
A Quiet Zone is a space dedicated to quieter interaction and less stimulation. Ideally, the Quiet Zone would be a separate room, but if that’s not possible, then a nook or area can be allocated as the Quiet Zone.
The Quiet Zone should be less stimulating than the environment of the main event. If there are Christmas carols blasting on repeat in the dining room, the Quiet Zone does not have any music. If the Christmas tree in the living room has blinking lights and a miniature train set zooming past, the Quiet Room has steady, ambient lighting that isn’t distracting.
While the main event likely includes loud chatter, many people speaking at once, laughing, and loud voices to be heard over the din, the Quiet Zone is where people can have one-on-one conversations that can be more easily heard and understood. For relatives of any age, the chance to step away from the noise and engage in a more in-depth one-on-one conversation might be a welcome relief.
Someone who tires easily in a crowded room of people might appreciate the relief of settling into the Quiet Room. Other guests can then take turns, one at a time, visiting within the Quiet Room. This way, everyone is supported to be part of the family gathering, but they can participate in a way that matches their individual needs. Having a space to retreat may allow people to reserve their physical and mental energy to join the group for dinner.
The Quiet Room makes it possible to have a quick cat-nap if needed. Giving the brain an extra boost of sleep can make the difference between enjoying the rest of the event, and just feeling overwhelmed and overstimulated. Family members who are stroke survivors or who have dementia will particularly appreciate the opportunity to have a power nap.
When the brain has been impacted by stroke or dementia, part of the brain may not be working the way it once did. The remaining parts of the brain are functioning on overdrive to compensate for the losses. Those over-active brain areas tire easily and benefit enormously from rest. A Quiet Room creates the space and permission to invite such guests to rest their brains when they need it most.
This holiday season, consider creating a Quiet Room for large family gatherings. The Quiet Room will be a retreat space to ensure that all your guests find the event manageable and can enjoy it fully.
Lissette Mairena Wong
January 31, 2024
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