As Seen in Active Over 50

Did you know that there are nearly 100 types of dementia?

The top 10 include:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Lewy Body
  • FrontoTemporal
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Vascular
  • Parkinson’s Related Dementia
  • Creutzfeldt-Jacob Dementia
  • Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, and
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment (that may or may not progress to full dementia)

Not to mention the dozens of treatable conditions such as infection and vitamin deficiency that can mimic dementia.

While there are many differences in causes, diagnoses, prognosis and treatment, there are a few things that may be helpful for almost everyone, no matter the disease.

In early stages, it may be helpful to take a memory class and refresh often. In a world where multi-tasking seemingly rules, you may also find that keeping responsibilities as simple as possible to be beneficial. Writing, writing, and more writing may also help. Something as simple as creating lists and checking things off or  journaling may provide clues to you and your family including insights into your personal thoughts and feelings but also your business dealings.

Mid-stage dementias frequently find people disengaging because of the confusion and embarrassment of forgetting. Family often wonders how to help and when to make decisions. Keeping a self-imposed but more regimented schedule may be helpful. Let family and friends know of your whereabouts, thoughts and concerns you may have, and just keep talking to friends, family, and neighbors.

Working to release “happy” hormones such as dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin, and serotonin is vital, especially in the later stages. Enjoying a favorite activity, creating vibrant artwork, singing, dancing, as well as touch, music, and movement therapies can release these chemicals.

There are now more than 5 million people in the US affected by some form of dementia. And a diagnosis can not only help you lead a longer, happier life, it can also help to find a cure. If you have concerns, see a trained physician and/or a neurologist to learn more.

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