Vascular dementia is generally considered the second most common form of senile dementia, far behind Alzheimer's, but still accounting for about one tenth of all dementia diagnoses. It's also called post-stroke dementia, due to its common association with strokes. When there is a lack of blood flow to the brain (as occurs with strokes), nerve cells die. This results in changes to the functioning of the brain, and to an individual's mental abilities.
Effects can vary widely from one patient to the next: some can survive post-diagnosis for 20 years or longer, while other cases can be terminal within months. In many cases, patients deteriorate in distinct increments, with sudden, noticeable changes in behaviour and symptoms. "Vascular cognitive impairment" is considered a more accurate description by many specialists.
Vascular dementia care
Home care services and retirement homes with memory care facilities should (in all likelihood) readily accept patients with vascular dementia. Care treatments for vascular dementia post–diagnosis will focus on preventing future insults that exacerbate the dementia. For example, blood pressure reduction, better diet, and mental exercises are all very beneficial. Home care services with diet assistance, or adult day care programs with interactive brain games can definitely help.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB)
This occurs when there are abnormal deposits of the protein alpha-synuclein in the cerebral cortex and other parts of the brain (aggregate deposits are called Lewy Bodies). This dementia manifests in memory loss and cognition problems, as seen in Alzheimer's sufferers, but with notable differences. The clarity of visual hallucinations can be more pronounced in those with DLB, sleep disorders are more prevalent, and slowness of movement is also more common. This is often confused with Parkinson's because it affects physical movement in a very similar manner, and the alpha-synuclein deposits in the brain are a feature of both dementias.
Lewy Body Dementia care
Since dementia with Lewy Bodies can manifest some aggressive behaviour, some memory care homes and care services may be more cautious about taking in Lewy Body dementia patients. Other facilities, especially, those with a strong understanding of dementia, will readily accept those with this form of dementia. The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer's Disease can also manifest aggression or irritability, etc.
If you are seeking care for someone with Lewy Body dementia, be sure that care is tailored to help with the distinct symptoms of this disorder, notably its more pronounced effects on physical movement and on visual perception. No treatments have been shown to slow progress of this disease, but home care services, adult day care programs can help spell off relief for family caregivers.
Parkinson's Disease (Parkinsonian Dementia)
Parkinson's is a progressive dementia with many similarities to dementia with Lewy Bodies, as well as Alzheimer's. The prevalent symptom is physical shaking and other problems with movement. Dementia is sometimes seen in the disease's advanced stages; those with Parkinson's Disease are anywhere from two to six times more likely to develop dementia than the general population. Other symptoms include cognitive difficulties like problems with judgment as well as memory loss. In advanced stages of Parkinson's there is decreased physical movement, quieter speech and other negative effects. A small percentage of late-stage Parkinson's patients suffer psychotic symptoms.
Care for Parkinsonian Dementia
For the most part, memory care retirement homes and home care services will accept Parkinson's sufferers as much as they will accept Alzheimer's patients. These services will be very helpful to families in the advanced stages of the disease, especially in dealing with Parkinsonian dementia. Respite care may be an option in some provinces, and beleaguered caregivers of those in later stages of the disease should consult with government services and to apply for short stay programs or help from home care.
If your family has committed to care in a facility that accepts Parkinson's sufferers but does not offer adequate care for dementia, your loved one may have to move.
Creutzfeld Jacob disease (CJD)
Creutzfeld Jacob disease is a universally fatal disease, caused by an agent called a prion; Classic Creutzfeld Jacob disease affects mainly older people, as opposed to Variant CJD, found in younger people. Typically, CJD is fatal within a year, for older people. It is extremely rare, affecting one in one million people annually.
Dementia care for Creutzfeld Jacob disease (CJD)
This is a disease that progresses more rapidly than Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
Care homes and home care services will likely have no problem accepting someone with CJD into their care and offering full care for the duration of the disease. Consult with homes listed here to learn more.
Other types of dementia
Other types of dementia are less common, including Korsakoff Syndrome, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, Huntington's Disease and a number of others.
Care for other types of dementia
Home care services and retirement residents are not likely to distinguish any of these lesser known dementias from the care they offer to those with Alzheimer's Disease. For the most part, retirement homes with specialized memory care facilities will be well-equipped to deal with any form of dementia. As medical science progresses, diseases are all increasingly better understood and care provided improves.