Some cases of dementia are caused by medical conditions that can be treated, fully or partly restoring mental function. When dementia cannot be reversed, the goal of treatment is to make life as easy as possible for the person and the caregivers.
The following suggestions may help you develop a plan to help a family member who has an ongoing problem with memory,problem solving,judgment,or the ability to handle daily tasks. These suggestions are basic and do not include all the information you will need to care for your family member. Your doctor may have other suggestions to add to your plan. Establish a simple daily routine. Set ...
Certain problems can be warning signs of dementia. Talk to a doctor if you, a friend, or a family member has been having increased difficulty with any of the following activities: Learning and retaining new information (forgetting recent events and appointments or frequently misplacing objects)Handling complex tasks, like balancing a checkbookKnowing what to do when problems come up (such as knowing what to do if the bathroom is flooded) and using good judgment (for example, showing a new disregard for the rules of social conduct and doing or saying things that are inappropriate)Finding his or her way around familiar places, driving to and from places he or she knows well (for example, getting lost when walking or driving from the house to the store a few blocks away)Finding the right words to say what he or she wants to sayUnderstanding and responding to what he or she sees and hearsActing more irritable or suspicious than usual, or withdrawing from conversation and activityA person
Alzheimer's disease is diagnosed after other conditions are ruled out. If you are suffering from a decline in mental abilities (dementia), your health professional will attempt to find out if another treatable condition may be causing those symptoms.
How quickly dementia progresses depends on what is causing it and the area of the brain that is affected. Some types of dementia progress slowly over several years. Other types may progress more rapidly.
A health professional may evaluate the day-to-day functioning of a person with Alzheimer's disease by asking questions and observing the person. This often is done informally during the medical history and physical exam. Sometimes the health professional may use a more formal functional status exam to evaluate a person's ability to perform daily activities. A functional status exam may also ...
Some people have memory loss but do not have dementia. They have what is known as mild cognitive impairment, a middle ground between normal aging and dementia. People with this condition are at risk for developing dementia; but not all people with mild cognitive impairment will progress to dementia.People with mild cognitive impairment often know that they have lost memory, and tests can confirm some loss. But they have normal overall mental functioning and can carry out normal activities of daily living.Doctors should evaluate people with memory loss, and those with mild cognitive impairment should be monitored because of their risk for developing dementia. Several studies are being done to see whether medicine can delay dementia in people who have mild cognitive impairment.