Caring for Someone With Dementia: 5 Fundamentals

4. Dementia is more than memory loss.

Memory loss is a classic dementia symptom. But some types of dementia, particularly frontotemporal dementia and Pick’s disease, manifest themselves as personality changes rather than memory loss. The symptoms depend on the areas of the brain that is affected by the disease. Even when memory loss is the most apparent symptom, the person with dementia is experiencing a neurological decline that can lead to a host of other issues. A patient may develop difficult behaviors and moods. For example, a prim and proper grandmother may begin to curse like a sailor. Or a formally trusting gentleman may come to believe that his family is plotting against him or experience other delusions and hallucinations. In the latest stages of most types of dementia, patients become unable to attend to activities of daily living (such as dressing and toileting) independently. They may become non-communicative, unable to recognize loved ones and even unable to move about.

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