7 Common Types of Dementia and What Families of Seniors Should Know

  • March 11, 2019

As the average age of people in this country continues to climb, so do the number of adults diagnosed with dementia. While many of us are familiar with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, there are other forms of dementia that can be just as life altering.

If you are concerned that the changes you see in a senior you love might be caused by dementia, a quick review of the different types may help you decide if you need to seek medical advice.

7 Types of Dementia

  1. Alzheimer’s disease: An estimated 5.7 million people in this country live with Alzheimer’s disease. This number is expected to rise to 14 million by the year 2050. A few of the most common symptoms include memory loss, a change in disposition, problems completing familiar tasks, difficulty speaking or writing, and confusion about place and time.
  2. Vascular dementia: This is the most common form of dementia next to Alzheimer’s disease. It is caused by an interruption of blood flow to the brain, often caused by a stroke or atherosclerosis. Symptoms are very similar to Alzheimer’s and include confusion and disorientation.
  3. Pick’s disease: Also known as frontotemporal dementia, this form of the illness runs in families. It impacts the front and side portions of the brain that govern language and behavior. Classic symptoms include a loss of inhibition and using words incorrectly.
  4. Parkinson’s dementia: About 70 percent of people who have Parkinson’s disease will develop dementia. While Parkinson’s dementia has symptoms in common with Alzheimer’s disease, there are differences. Unlike Alzheimer’s, which impairs memory and language, Parkinson’s dementia affects the speed of cognitive function. 
  5. Dementia with Lewy bodies: The suicide of beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams helped shine the spotlight on this lesser-known form of dementia. About 1.4 million people in the United States live with this disease. It causes a variety of problems including hallucinations, fainting spells, sleep disorders, and more.
  6. Huntington’s disease: This is another form of dementia with genetic links. There are two forms of it. One impacts juveniles and the other adults in their 30s and 40s. Some of the most frequent symptoms include jerking, attention deficit, trouble swallowing, and loss of impulse control.
  7. Mixed dementia: A growing number of researchers think that people who are diagnosed with some type of dementia, likely have at least one other form of dementia as well. They believe Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia are the most common combination.

While many of these symptoms can be difficult to conceal, it is common for an older adult to try. If you suspect there is a problem your parent isn’t revealing, “How Seniors Hide Their Dementia Symptoms” is an article you might find helpful. It identifies common tactics older adults use to try to conceal symptoms. 

Please call the Five Star community nearest you if you have any questions about dementia or dementia care options for a loved one!
 


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