What is it?
Dementia is a broad term used to describe a collection of symptoms that are caused by a variety of disorders affecting the brain. It is a syndrome in which there is a deterioration in cognitive function that is beyond what might be expected from normal biological ageing. There are many different types of dementia. Dementia of the Alzheimer’s type is the most common form and contributes up to 70% of cases. Other types of dementia include the following:
- Dementia with Lewy Bodies
- Frontotemporal Dementia
- Vascular Dementia
- Alcohol-related Dementia
What are the typical cognitive and behavioural characteristics?
The profile of cognitive and behavioural difficulties is different for each type of disorder. Dementia can affect the older individual and the not-so-old individual.
Early signs of dementia are typically subtle and may not be immediately apparent, however, include the following:
- Frequent and progressive memory difficulties
- Losing track of time
- Becoming lost in familiar places
- Increasing difficulties with communication
- Behaviour or personality changes
- Needing help with personal care
Late stage dementia results in serious memory difficulties. Physical signs and symptoms become obvious and include the following:
- Being unaware of time and place
- Difficulty with recognising family and friends
- Marked behavioural change that can include aggression
- Increased need in assistance for self-care
How can an assessment help?
There is currently no cure for most types of dementia, however medication can be provided by your doctor to reduce symptoms. A neuropsychological assessment plays a key role in the early detection, diagnosis, and management of dementia syndromes. Importantly, a neuropsychology evaluation can be used to differentiate between normal ageing from mild cognitive impairment to cognitive impairment due to reversible causes (e.g., depression). We can provide differential diagnosis of dementia due to different underlying causes (e.g., Alzheimer’s versus Frontotemporal Dementia).
Additionally, a neuropsychology assessment can track progression of the disease, and assist with providing appropriate cognitive and behavioural interventions. These intervention strategies can help with reducing the impact of cognitive deficits and to maximise a person’s independence.
How does Invictus Health do things differently?
Living with dementia is challenging, however, there are ways to mitigate some of the effects of dementia and to maximise independence and personal wellbeing. Invictus Health has experienced neuropsychologists in the diagnosis and management of dementias. Following diagnosis, importance is placed in providing education, and recommending appropriate interventions and support to the individual and their families. Invictus Health neuropsychologists often work with geriatricians and occupational therapists to provide the best possible support to the individual.
By: Invictus Health