Understand The Process And Experience Of Dementia

4493 words - 18 pages

Unit 33 Understand the Process and Experience of Dementia

Understand the neurology of dementia

1.1 Dementia is an umbrella term for a range of diseases that affect memory, behaviour and motor skills. The causes vary depending on the disease but largely the presence of “plaques” and “tangles” on the neurons of the brain is found in people with Alzheimer’s. Plaques are protein that the body no longer breaks down and allows to build up; these get between the neurons and disrupt the message transmission. Tangles destroy a vital cell transport system made of proteins. The transport system is organised in orderly parallel strands like rail tracks. In healthy areas a protein call “tau” ...view middle of the document...

The protein clumps damage the way brain cells work and communicate with each other. The nerve cells affected by Lewy bodies control thinking and movement and cause Parkinson like symptoms.

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is caused by a variety of abnormal proteins building up in the brain. The nerve cells affected are in areas call the frontal and temporal lobes. The frontal lobes are involved in regulating our personality, emotions and behaviour, as well as reasoning, planning and decision-making. The temporal lobes are involved in memory and the understanding and production of language. As the disease progresses, other parts of the brain become affected.

1.2 Almost all brain functions, including memory, movement, language, judgment, behaviour and abstract thinking, are eventually affected if diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Vascular dementia is caused by brain damage from cerebrovascular or cardiovascular problems (strokes) or other problems that inhibit vascular function; the symptoms are similar to Alzheimer’s but personality and emotions are effected only late in the disease.

Lewy body dementia is common and progressive where cells in the brain’s cortex die and other contain abnormal structures; symptoms overlap with Alzheimer’s disease but also include hallucinations, shuffling gait and flexed posture with symptoms that may vary daily.

Frontotemporal dementia is linked to degeneration of nerve cells in the frontal and temporal brain lobes and some evidence for a genetic factor; symptoms in patients (usually ages 40-65) have judgement and social behaviour problems such as stealing, neglecting responsibilities, increased appetite, compulsive behaviour and eventually motor skill problems and memory loss.

People with dementia lose their memory of day to day things but still remember things from their past. As the disease gradually gets worse individuals start to forget about their personal hygiene, personal wellbeing, how to cook or clean in their own home, they forget how to stay safe within their own

Unit 33 Understand the Process and Experience of Dementia

Understand the neurology of dementia

environment. They gradually lose their memory of being able to function as a functioning human being, it’s as if they go back to childlike and can’t remember anything on how to function.

1.3 Individual’s process information in different ways therefore depending on their abilities will depend on their limitations of individuals with dementia. Some people are aware of their limitations, this may make them feel sad for the way they are now and making them worried about the future. Usually as the disease progresses, the level of self-awareness will most likely decline as well. In earlier stages of dementia the person you care fore may deny or not understand that they have the disease and this can then result in them not realising their own limitations in their abilities, such as driving, cooking etc.


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