4 Types of Dementia, and How Memory Care For Dementia Can Help Seniors

Over 6 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s. About one in nine people over 65 have Alzheimer’s, specifically. It’s a growing problem that’s only worsening as people live longer lives due to the miracles of modern medicine. Professional dementia care is essential if you want to care for a loved one but lack the qualifications or training. After all, not everyone is trained to take care of others with mental health disorders or disabilities. Here’s what you should know about the 4 different types of dementia and why memory care for dementia is essential.

The 4 Types of Dementia Explained

Memory loss in seniors can come from multiple different sources. In some cases, it’s due to trauma. For others, it’s a genetic disposition that can occur at any point in their adult lives. Dementia is a specific source of memory loss that will only grow worse with time. The 4 types of dementia include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Lewy body dementia
  • Vascular dementia

By understanding the cause of these disorders and their symptoms, you can find the appropriate type of care to help your loved ones live their best lives.

1. Alzheimer’s Disease

The most common and most well-known type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. This often afflicts older adults through abnormal buildups of proteins called amyloid plaques and tau tangles. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, though things like a good diet and exercise can delay or prevent it altogether. A person’s first symptoms will vary. They may include things like a decline in cognition or forgetfulness. As it progresses, these symptoms become more apparent and debilitating.

There are three stages to Alzheimer’s disease: mild, moderate, and severe. With the mild stage, people start to experience more significant memory loss. They may get lost, repeat questions, and display behavioral changes. This is also when most people are diagnosed. By the time they reach the severe stage, brain tissue has shrunken significantly. They won’t be able to communicate and will need to depend on someone for all of their daily tasks. This will lead to death by around the eight to ten-year mark.

2. Frontotemporal Dementia

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a rarer form that often affects people under 60. Most people will become diagnosed with it after the age of 45. However, there have been very rare cases where teenagers develop this kind of dementia. This dementia is associated with abnormal amounts of the protein tau and TDP-43. One of the primary forms of FTD is prominent changes in behavior and personality. This is due to nerve cell loss in areas that control a person’s empathy and judgment. The second form of FTD is primary progressive aphasia, which involves a person’s language and communication skills. There is currently no cure for FTD, and treatments will not slow down the progression. The average life expectancy after diagnosis is 7.5 years. However, an early diagnosis can help you get ahead of the symptoms and get help for your loved one.

3. Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a special form of dementia caused by abnormal protein deposits known as Lewy bodies. These proteins affect chemicals in the brain that cause the symptoms commonly associated with dementia, such as changes in thinking and behavior. In most cases, people only show symptoms of LBD after age 50. Additionally, it affects slightly more men than women. While there is no specific test for LBD, there are some that can assist with its diagnosis. A positron emission tomography scan can show reduced dopamine transporter uptake. Abnormal iodine-MIBG myocardial scintigraphy may show reduced communication with cardiac nerves. A sleep study could also confirm their suspicions. Most patients will only live for up to eight years after a diagnosis. However, rare cases have people surviving for upwards of 20 years.

4. Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia doesn’t occur naturally like the other three forms. Instead, it happens to those who suffer some kind of traumatic brain injury. This may be anything from a stroke to blunt head trauma.

Risk factors include:

  • Increasing age
  • Family history of heart attacks or stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Obesity

Like the other kinds, vascular dementia will get worse over time and has no cure. However, the rate at which it worsens will vary depending on the person and the cause.

How Dementia Care Can Help Your Loved Ones

As much as you may want to care for your loved one, you can’t always be there for them. Maybe you have children and a job to focus on. You also likely don’t have the kind of training or experience to provide them with the help that they need. A dementia care home can provide 24-hour care for your loved one. The best ones should have enhanced security, personalized attention, emotional support, and monitoring of health conditions. You can also expect them to provide nutritious meals for seniors as well as opportunities to socialize with their peers.

One of the most important parts of memory care for dementia is that they won’t just keep your loved one company. They also have medical and mental health professionals on staff who can keep residents healthy and happy. It’s a better alternative to the person living alone or only getting care for a few hours every day. You can rest easier knowing they’re in a safe place if there’s any kind of emergency. Family members can also visit throughout the week and set up regular video calls.

Find a Dementia Care Home Close to You

A dementia diagnosis is a scary thing to go through without some kind of support system. You may feel overwhelmed at having to care for a loved one after their diagnosis. There’s nothing wrong with relying on a dementia care home for professional expertise and assisted living. Inspired Living provides independent living, memory care, assisted living, and respite care for your loved ones. You can find our communities in Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana. Contact us to learn more and take a look at our floor plans and pricing online.