Dementia is an umbrella term for various cognitive issues that can affect older adults’ quality of life and ability to carry out daily tasks. You may already know it is a progressive, incurable condition that may cause memory loss and changes to people’s decision-making abilities.
Many people experience dementia symptoms as they get older, but it’s essential to remember that several different illnesses can impact thinking and reasoning skills, and not all of them are the same.
Types of Irreversible Dementia
Sadly, some types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy bodies, frontotemporal dementia, and vascular dementia, are irreversible. If your loved one receives a diagnosis of one of these illnesses, you can expect their condition to decline in stages, some of which may overlap.
Even with irreversible dementia, do not lose hope. You can take steps to help your family member stay comfortable and maintain their independence longer. At Legacy Homecare LA, our Care Team has extensive training and expertise in creating specialized care plans that provide clients with dementia and their families with more compassion, autonomy, and joy.
Potentially Reversible Forms of Dementia
Some injuries and illnesses can cause dementia-like warning signs such as memory loss and emotional unpredictability. The appropriate treatment regimen could help reduce or improve those symptoms.
Anyone who experiences a head injury, no matter how seemingly minor, should consult with a medical professional. These injuries may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, even years later. However, early intervention can improve the prognosis of people with brain injuries.
Much like head trauma, vascular illnesses such as heart disease can initially resemble dementia. Any interruption in oxygen circulation to the brain can dramatically affect your loved one’s executive function, memory, and overall alertness. A doctor can perform screenings to identify a blockage and prescribe treatment to prevent irreversible brain damage.
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, colloquially known as “wet brain,” is a severe vitamin B1 deficiency frequently seen among long-term, heavy drinkers. It’s a degenerative condition that causes confusion and disorientation in the acute phase. Early hallmarks of wet brain also include extreme lethargy and trouble standing and walking without help. Without treatment, wet brain will gradually worsen, leading to permanent effects such as memory loss and a shorter lifespan.
If your loved one experiences brain fog, forgetfulness, and trouble concentrating, it could be due to hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism instead of dementia. Thyroid disorders are treatable, and a doctor will need to make an accurate diagnosis to determine a stabilizing regimen.
Depression and dementia share several similar symptoms, such as:
- A loss of interest in previously enjoyable hobbies
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Difficulties with memory and concentration
- Sleeping too much or too little
The first step in getting your loved one correctly diagnosed is to concisely describe the symptoms to a health provider. You may want to keep a log of when you started noticing these issues, how long they have persisted, and whether any specific cause seems to trigger them.
Medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes can go a long way to help address the mood and behavioral challenges associated with depression.
How Can We Help You and Your Family?
If someone you care about suddenly experiences memory lapses, they should consult their health care provider to learn if it is possible to reverse brain damage and improve their prognosis for living a longer, healthier life. At Legacy Homecare LA, our trained caregivers will put your family’s needs first, from compassionate companionship to competent assistance with tasks like bathing, cooking, and getting dressed.
To learn more about our service areas and what we offer, please reach out to us today.