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Dementia & Alzheimer’s: A Guide to Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Differences

A loved one experiencing memory loss or other symptoms is confusing enough for everyone. As symptoms continue and you look for solutions, you may wonder: What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia?

One of our spring events at Kensington Park Senior Living explored the complexities and differences between common neurodegenerative disorders, including:

  • Lewy Body Dementia (LBD)
  • Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)
  • Parkinson’s Disease (PD)

At this event, we discussed the latest advancements in diagnosis and treatment, and how senior living communities can provide exceptional care for affected individuals.

Keep reading to learn about the newest advancements in diagnosis and treatment and how senior living communities can provide exceptional care for seniors impacted by these conditions.

Our promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own.

Understanding Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder primarily affecting memory and cognitive functions.

One of its distinguishing characteristics is the accumulation of abnormal proteins in the brain, leading to the formation of amyloid plaques and tau tangles.

These protein clusters disrupt the communication between brain cells, contributing to a gradual deterioration in memory, cognition, and behavior.

The progression of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease progresses through different stages, beginning with mild memory issues and confusion and culminating in profound cognitive decline.

Caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s requires tailored assistance, such as aiding with daily activities, managing medications, and providing emotional support.

Creating a supportive environment is crucial as it can provide a sense of safety and reduce anxiety for those with Alzheimer’s.

Decoding Lewy Body dementia

Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is a complex and progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the accumulation of abnormal protein formations called Lewy bodies in the brain.

These formations lead to declines in cognitive functions like memory, focus, and problem-solving, along with motor symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease.

Distinct features and symptoms

LBD stands out from other dementia types due to the occurrence of:

  • Visual hallucinations
  • Fluctuating cognitive abilities
  • REM sleep behavior disorder

This varied range of symptoms can make diagnosis challenging, leading to misdiagnoses as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.

Precise identification is essential for tailored treatment and support.

Senior living communities focusing on memory care and Parkinson’s provide specialized support for individuals with LBD, offering a well-informed team, personalized programs, and an environment to meet their unique needs.

Unraveling Parkinson’s disease dementia

Parkinson’s Disease Dementia (PDD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that can develop as a complication of Parkinson’s Disease (PD).

As PD progresses, some individuals may experience cognitive decline and develop dementia.

This decline in cognitive abilities may include memory loss, difficulties with problem-solving and organization, and language changes.

Personalized support

Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease Dementia (PDD) typically need a holistic care approach that includes medication, physical therapy, and cognitive therapy.

Choosing a senior living community specializing in memory care and PD offers several benefits, including:

  • Specialized support
  • A professional team
  • Medication monitoring
  • A secure environment
  • Socialization and activities
  • Dining services
  • Round-the-clock assistance

These communities create a supportive environment for Parkinson’s patients, allowing them to maintain their independence and quality of life while receiving tailored care.

How senior living can help with Alzheimer’s and dementia

Senior living communities provide individualized care solutions to address the unique needs of seniors, especially those with cognitive impairments like dementia.

Emphasizing personalized care, these communities offer various services such as:

This approach ensures residents receive the specialized care that best suits their needs.

A secure and nurturing atmosphere

The environment is carefully designed to ensure safety and comfort, incorporating handrails, non-slip floors, and round-the-clock assistance.

The Kensington Park team is highly skilled in dementia care, with the knowledge and skills to assist residents in managing their condition.

Our community offers a variety of social events and programs to promote social engagement and cognitive activity, helping residents maintain their overall well-being and enjoyment of life.

Supporting caregivers and senior loved ones

Supporting caregivers and their senior loved ones is vital in easing the emotional burden frequently faced by caregivers.

The duties and challenges of caregiving can cause stress, anxiety, and feelings of isolation.

Respite care, sometimes provided by senior living communities, allows caregivers to take a break and recharge while ensuring their loved one receives exceptional care.

Recognizing burnout and stress

Senior living communities can alleviate caregiver burnout by providing personalized care tailored to the needs of their loved ones, including medication management, assistance with daily tasks, and life-enrichment activities.

Assisted living and memory care communities often provide caregiver support groups and access to educational resources, forming a supportive network to help caregivers manage their responsibilities more effectively.

Latest advancements in dementia treatments

Numerous treatments and therapies are accessible for helping relieve dementia symptoms, such as medications that mitigate cognitive issues and boost brain health.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle with regular physical activity and a nutritious diet can also aid in symptom management and improve overall well-being.

Breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s Treatment: Leqembi

A significant breakthrough in Alzheimer’s treatment is the FDA’s approval of Leqembi.

This medication, authorized in June of last year, targets amyloid plaques—a key hallmark of the disease—to address early-stage Alzheimer’s.

Leqembi has shown promising results in clinical trials, leading to improved cognitive function and a better quality of life for residents.

Implications for early-stage Alzheimer’s residents

For seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, Leqembi provides optimism by offering a treatment option that may delay disease progression and maintain cognitive function for a longer period.

Rapid diagnosis and treatment are essential, enabling individuals to make the most of existing therapies and support networks.

Consultation and collaboration with health care professionals

Families of individuals with dementia should consult health care professionals to determine the best treatment approach.

A collaborative team of experts, including neurologists, geriatricians, and dementia care specialists, can create personalized treatment plans and provide support, ensuring that seniors with dementia receive tailored care that meets their unique needs.

Embrace compassionate dementia care

Explore the transformative power of compassionate care at Kensington Park.

Our dedicated care team designs personalized care plans to meet each resident’s distinct needs.

At Kensington Park, you will find a secure and reassuring environment, along with 24-hour support to prioritize the safety and comfort of our residents.

Contact us today to discover our approach to dementia care and how we can contribute to your loved one’s journey to wellness and joy.

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