Dementia is a scary diagnosis for people of any age. It can be particularly daunting for seniors living in the Los Angeles area due to the higher risk of falls associated with dementia. A recent study warns that falls in people with dementia are becoming increasingly more common.
As adult children and caregivers, it’s important to understand what dementia is and how it can be managed.
Continue reading to learn more about:
- The difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia
- How many types of dementia there are
- Dementia and falls
- Memory care facilities in Los Angeles that provide comprehensive support
What Is Dementia?
Dementia is a broad term that describes a decline in cognitive abilities that affects daily life. Dementia is not a normal part of aging.
While memory loss may be the most well-known symptom, other symptoms include difficulty communicating or problem-solving. There is often confusion about time or place and reduced decision-making skills. Changes in behavior or personality are also challenging to see in a loved one.
People diagnosed with dementia often require support from memory care communities like Hillcrest in Los Angeles County to help them manage day-to-day tasks. Late-stage dementia will usually require 24-hour care. Round-the-clock care is a service Hillcrest team members provide with compassion.
How many types of dementia are there?
There are many types of dementia, but the most common is Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Alzheimer’s accounts for 60 to 80 percent of all cases of dementia. Vascular dementia makes up ten to 20 percent.
Dementia describes a wide range of neurological disorders that involve memory, behavior, or thinking. There are several types of dementia, and each has unique characteristics.
Other forms of dementia include:
- Lewy body dementia
- Frontotemporal lobe degeneration
- Huntington’s disease
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
- Normal pressure hydrocephalus
- Parkinson’s Disease
Lewy body dementia is characterized by protein deposits that develop in the brain, causing behavioral symptoms such as visual hallucinations.
Frontotemporal lobe degeneration is caused by the progressive shrinking of the frontal or temporal lobes and may lead to changes in behavior and language use.
Huntington’s disease is caused by an inherited mutation that affects brain cells and can cause uncontrolled movements throughout the body.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is caused by a prion infection and tends to progress quickly with fatal results.
Normal pressure hydrocephalus is caused by excess fluid buildup in the brain, which can affect physical abilities like walking and bladder control.
Parkinson’s disease has similar characteristics to other dementias but primarily affects movement with muscle trembling, stiffness, slowness, and problems with balance and coordination.
Vascular dementia typically results from strokes or other vascular issues. It affects various areas of the brain and causes confusion, difficulty with problem-solving, concentration difficulties, and personality changes.
These are the most common forms of dementia. Memory loss can stem from hundreds of different types of dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Association reports over six million cases of Alzheimer’s in the US. Dementia affects over seven million older adults. As the aging population rises, the dementia trend is expected to grow by at least 2 million in each of the next two decades.
No matter which type someone has, they all have something important in common; they require compassionate care from family members and medical professionals. Memory care communities in the Los Angeles area can offer immense support.
The Difference Between Alzheimer’s And Other Forms Of Dementia
Alzheimer’s is an irreversible brain disorder that affects a person’s ability to think clearly and remember events accurately. It is characterized by memory loss, difficulty communicating, problem-solving, and judgment-making.
Although Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, it’s important to understand that Alzheimer’s is not equivalent to “dementia” as a whole.
Alzheimer’s is a cognitive impairment caused by abnormal plaques and tangles in the brain. Any other form of memory impairment from any other cause, such as stroke or Parkinson’s, can be classified as “dementia” but not necessarily “Alzheimer’s disease.”
Seniors need to be diagnosed correctly and early. Know the warning signs and seek help from a doctor immediately to receive appropriate treatment.
Dementia And Fall Prevention
Falls are one of the most common injuries for seniors living with dementia. Factors contributing to falls include:
- Vision changes
- Mobility changes
- Decreasing strength
- Lack of awareness
To reduce fall risk in people with dementia, it is essential for caregivers at home or staff members at memory care facilities to focus on:
- Maintaining proper nutrition levels
- Providing adequate lighting throughout the space
- Removing potentially hazardous objects from pathways within reach
- Helping create routines for activities such as bathing, dressing, and grooming
- Encouraging physical activity that promotes balance, strength, flexibility, and coordination
Understanding all aspects of caring for someone with dementia requires patience and dedication. Proper management through lifestyle modifications and medication compliance can help reduce fall risks significantly. Fewer accidents can allow individuals with dementia to maintain a better quality of life.
Comprehensive Senior Living and Memory Care in Los Angeles County
At Hillcrest, we understand how challenging managing Alzheimer’s and dementia can be for family members. Our expert memory care team develops specialized programs tailored to provide our residents with the exceptional quality care they deserve.
Hillcrest residents like Myra are an inspiration to our community. Her story highlights the benefits of living in a continuing care retirement community (CCRCs) while experiencing memory loss.
The benefits of our memory care program:
- 24-hour support
- Dementia-friendly common areas and apartments
- Individualized care plans
- Brain-healthy meal programs
- Wellness programming
Learn More About Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care in Los Angeles
Don’t wait until it is too late. Contact us today to learn more about comprehensive memory care in Los Angeles County.