When people go to the doctor to get a diagnosis of dementia they often walk out with more questions than answers. The question is: does it really matter what type of dementia a person has?
When you go to the doctor and get a diagnosis of cancer, you would know what type. The type of cancer you have will impact your symptoms and treatment plan. And so when a doctor says your loved one has dementia, your follow up should be, what type if dementia is it? Unfortunately most people leave a doctors office not knowing.
Dementia is an umbrella term for a group of symptoms caused by different diseases. The most common dementia’s are: Alzheimer’s, Vascular dementia, Lewy Body dementia and Frontotemporal dementia. Some of the symptoms of dementia are: trouble with decision making, loss of ability to care for oneself, changes in sleep and wake cycle, personality and language changes, and memory loss.
Although there are symptoms shared by different types of dementia, there are also symptoms which will only come with certain types of dementia. For example, hallucinations are common in Lewy Body dementia, but are less common in other types. Understanding what type of dementia someone has as well as taking time to know the whole person, not just their diagnosis, can help to differentiate what is normal and what is not.
Different dementia’s will have different challenges. At different stages of dementia people will present with different symptoms. All of these will impact how we support the person.
Is it time to consider permanent care?
There is never a right or wrong answer to this question. Our “Question and Answers” are for people living with dementia and for the loved ones supporting them as they consider permanent care, residential aged care, home and community care or a nursing home. Please connect and share your details and take our Q&A to help you decide what to do next.
Dance to your own rhythm: Every person living with dementia will do it differently. It’s like a dance.
We understand when a loved one receives a diagnosis, it doesn’t just affect them. There is a huge impact on their support network. We have created a new resource which includes helpful advice for care partners.