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Dementia

There are many different types of dementia. The term dementia refers to a set of symptoms involving memory loss, problems with thinking or difficulty with language.

Dementia happens when there is damage to the brain, caused by diseases such as Alzheimer’s, or vascular dementia (a series of strokes). There is currently no cure for dementia. It is a progressive disease which means that the symptoms get worse over time.

Types of dementia

There are many different forms of dementia.

The most common forms are listed below:

Alzheimer’s – This is the most common form of dementia. Cells in the brain are damaged on the outside by an unusual protein and are also damaged on the inside. As time goes on cells struggle to connect with each other and some cells die.

Vascular dementia – Blood vessels to the brain can get narrower and become damaged, so oxygen struggles to get to the brain. This causes damage to some cells in the brain and these cells may then die. The symptoms can begin suddenly after one large stroke or can happen more gradually after a series of smaller strokes.

Dementia with Lewy bodies – Small abnormal areas develop inside brain cells which disrupt how they work and cause the cells to die. This form of dementia affects alertness and can even cause hallucinations. It is related to Parkinson’s disease and has some similar symptoms, including difficulty with movement.

Frontotemporal dementia – This form of dementia affects the nerve cells in the front and side of the brain. Abnormal proteins grow inside nerve cells, which eventually cause the cells to die. Changes in behaviour are common with this form.

Mixed dementia – this is when a person has more than one type of dementia at the same time (e.g. they have Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia together).

Symptoms of dementia – The symptoms that people experience depends on the type of dementia that they have. Symptoms can include:

Memory problems (especially difficulty recalling recent events)
Problems concentrating, planning, making decisions or organising things
Losing track of the day, date or where they are
Difficulty remembering words or following a conversation
Problems judging distances
Hallucinations
Mood changes
Anxiety
Sadness

Help with dementia

Dementia can be a life-shortening illness, and gets worse over time. As symptoms progress, people with dementia and those who care for them may benefit from hospice care.

At St Nicholas Hospice Care we aim to create an environment where people feel safe, comfortable and listened to. People in the latter stages of dementia may benefit from:

Complementary therapies such as massage, Acupuncture, Aromatherapy and Reiki. These therapies can help with relaxation, coping with anxiety, wellbeing and managing difficult symptoms

Doctor and nurse-led clinics for outpatients

Physiotherapy – to help with mobility, fitness and maximising independent living We also have a range of groups and activities where you can meet people in a similar situation or talk to someone in a friendly and informal environment.

If you are not yet known to the Hospice, but think you may benefit from some of the services we have to offer, please get in touch with our First Contact team.For further information about dementia and how it affects people, please refer to the Alzheimer’s Society website. Information is available about all types of dementia, not just Alzheimer’s.

If you are not yet known to the Hospice, but think you may benefit from some of the services we have to offer, please get in touch with our First Contact team.

For further information about dementia and how it affects people, please refer to the Alzheimer’s Society website. Information is available about all types of dementia, not just Alzheimer’s.