brain, alzheimer's, dementia, CT scan, memory

Age Dementia: One of Many

Age dementia, Lewy body dementia, senile dementia, Alzheimer's, and Pick's disease are all classified as dementias. There are as many out there, as there are renowned scientists to name them!

The daughter of a woman once told me this story about Age Dementia:

"My mother has always been a doer. She never worked outside the home. She sure did work in it! Raising children and grandchildren takes a lot of time, energy, and patience. She added smarts to that! Sitting down to the table after dinner (she always said, "You can't think without food in your belly"), we'd do our homework. She'd sit right there and help us. She never told us the answers, to her that was cheating. "Every one of you has a brain, use it or lose it!

Years after we were all grown and gone, she started having trouble with her memory. We'd visit or call often. Some of us noticed she didn't talk much about her day, but mostly things that happened in the past. We just thought she wanted to reminisce, but it wasn't that.

After a while, she would do things while we were there, that we knew were wrong. She'd leave the burner on (scary), or we'd find the house was not cleaned like usual (she was very proud of a clean, orderly home). My sister found a stack of mail unopened on the front room desk that had been there for over a week. Mom always kept up the bills.

When asked about these things, she didn't seem to notice that it was a problem. A couple times, she'd just nod and smile, or walk off. That's when we knew there was a problem.

We took her to the same doctor she'd been seeing for years, and he sent her to see a specialist in dementias. A Neurologist. After days of office visits, dementia screenings, and lab work, she was given the diagnosis of Age Dementia.

Apparently, there are so many kinds, and some people with the same diagnosis can have different symptoms, that they chose the most likely one.

Fortunately, my mom had a good friend who shared information with her about how nutritional deficiencies can affect the brain.

So, we started mom on a supplement, because she wasn't the greatest at eating enough, or the right foods, now that there was no one in the house. Isn't that interesting? She always kept fresh fruits and vegetables, and did home cooking, when there were others around to do for. Now that there weren't, she didn't!

I stayed with mom and gave her that supplement every day. We couldn't really count on her remembering to take it. Over the next few days, I noticed an improvement in her memory. Then, within a couple weeks, she said, "I'm so glad we figured out what was wrong. I was so scared of what was happening, I didn't say anything to anyone. It was like a heavy fog".

I'm sharing this woman's story about Age Dementia, because others have been helped with this same information. Plus, there's other information out there that I want to highlight.

Whether the symptoms are many, or few, they are significant. Often times, they start out gradual and become significant. What happens when someone who's "perfectly fine" has changes? Do we look into why? Not usually.

What are some why's?

Loss of a spouse or other significant person in our life. Age dementia and depression often go hand-in-hand.

Moving. Lots of elderly people move to a smaller home because theirs is too much for them to keep up without family around anymore.

Prescription drugs. This should be the very first thing looked into. The more often someone goes to a doctor, the more medications they may be on.

Making a change in medication should be a BIG DEAL!

Also, if someone's been on a medication for a long time, it may be interacting with them differently than when first put on.

Medication confusion is so important to be aware of. Some pills look the same, have the same colors, etc. There are a lot of mix ups that land people in the hospital. People in and out of the hospital should be aware that prescription medications, even properly prescribed, are the #3 cause of death in the U.S.

Change in weight in and of itself may lead to dementias. Either weight loss or weight gain.

Dehydration! Now, here's a biggie! I wrote another story Hip & Joint Pain that talks about how my grandmother's pain was so bad, she didn't want to drink water so she wouldn't have to get up to go to the bathroom! Because of dehydration, she started seeing people coming out of her television!

Age Dementia may be linked to a Vitamin B-12 deficiency. It is listed as a supplement for memory, but what about the other vitamins? Your body needs a balance of nutrients, not just one. Click on this link to see just how important balance is Nutrition for the Elderly

Falls due to weakness or imbalance can lead to changes in behavior that may be thought to be dementia. There are "bridging" veins between your skull and your brain that could break in a fall. What's spooky, is that someone could fall several days, even several weeks, before showing any symptoms. A brain bleed can go unrecognized for quite some time.

Depressionis under-recognized. Put yourself in that person's shoes and ask, "How would I feel if...". I'm going to write another story about depression, keep your eyes open!

Alcohol and/or drug abuse are other causes. Taking a nip here and again is one thing. Has the person increased their alcohol consumption? Are you sure???? Have they been abusing drugs over time and now behaving differently? I'm sure you've all seen the commercial, "Your Brain On Drugs", they really do fry you.

All of the above are just SOME causes of SOME dementias, not just Age Dementia.

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