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Topic beginning dementia Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By marie On 2010.12.18 12:23 [Edit]
Hi everyone, haven't posted for awhile, but I have a question. Does anyone know the beginning signs of dementia? Is angziety and nastyness to the caregiver a sign? Thanks for your help

By LOHENGR1N On 2010.12.18 15:50
Marie, Dementia has a very slow onset. If you have a sudden onset of oddness, forgetfulness or anxiety, it would most likely be reaction to a change or addition in medication, an infection or could even be delusion related. It may even be the need for increase in medication. If it's episodic (comes and goes) it is also more than likely one of those things. Dementia doesn't come and go, it has a constant slow progression. Dementia is hard to define. It may seem I'm splitting hairs when I'm talking about dementia vs, delusions. However it is important to remember the medical community views them differently and once a diagnosis of dementia is made it doesn't go away. Sadly less attention might be given to any problems or symptoms one is having because of a diagnosis of dementia. There is no hard and fast test for diagnosis of dementia rather it is a judgment call from a professional and I can't stress enough that dementia is a situation which should be addressed by a second and even third opinion. As for beginning signs well they can be very individual, as far as I know there aren't any specific beginning signs (like a list or something of that sort). I think you should discuss your concerns with the Doctor to see if they call for more testing at this time. Take care, best of luck and hang in there.

By hubb On 2010.12.18 16:52
I don't know if you can tell when it's dementia and when it's just part of the insidious progression of the disease. For several days now, my PD spouse has been very quarrelsome and cantankerous...nothing is right and nothing pleases him, least of all anything I do. He gets obsessed with something and won't let it go - right now he thinks we should take up part of the carpeting and put something else down so chairs would slide easier. I try not to get upset about things he says and let it ride because in a day or two, he'll be on to something else, and these are traits he's never had before. No change in meds, so can't blame it on that. Seems like after he's been so confrontational, he'll sleep a lot, and then the next day, will be back more like his old self. I'll mention it to the neuro when we go again in a couple of months, but most likely the only thing he can offer would be pills of some kind and I don't want that - my husband is 80 years old and has been on sinemet for so long, that I'm afraid any change would be major. But this is what makes caretaking so difficult at times - and also what wears us down. We are leaving for our son's house for Christmas vacation and I am so thankful to have other people there who will help take care of him for a while and give me a break. Feelings get hurt and you try not to show it, but it wears on you and we all need a break now and then, and of course, being able to vent in this forum sure does help.

By Emma On 2010.12.18 18:38
Like everything else, I think that dementia is different for different people. Changes in behavior do not neccesarily mean dementia. My husband had symptoms of dementia before he was diagnosed with PD and before he was taking any medication at all so it can't be ascribed to that. His first symptoms (that I noticed) were having trouble learning new things, even simple things. He is a very intelligent man with a Master's degree but, for example, he couldn't learn how to use the new microwave we got. His reading ability and comprehension began to deteriorate. Then he started having memory problems, followed by problems with judgement. It has progressed from there. Initially I thought that he might have early onset Alzheimers (he was 55 at the time I began to notice it). He has obsessions, delusions and hallucinations as well but to me those are very different from the intellectual impairment that has been the hallmark of his dementia. One thing I have observed from having many family members with Alzheimers and now my husband with his dementia is that it doesn't really seem to change their basic nature or personality. In fact it seems to accentuate it. If someone was sweet and pleasant before dementia they will continue to be sweet and pleasant, maybe more so. If they were crabby and selfish before they will still be that way, again maybe more so.

Talk to your neuro about it. He may want your husband to have a neuropsychological exam. The five minute tests that doctors do in their office are pretty worthless. A thorough exam will take all day, be performed by a professional and involve many tests to evaluate different types of thought processes, reasoning, memory, problem solving and judgement among other things. It can be tiring and frustrating for the patient. Usually the spouse is asked to fill out a questionairre while the patient is being tested. You would most likely not be allowed in the testing room with your husband as that is a distractor and a stressor and can skew the results. Medicare and most insurance will pay for this testing if it is ordered by a doctor. The results of the tests can indicate to the administering psychologist or psychiatrist what type of dementia, if any, the person has as different types affect areas of function differently. The first test can serve as a baseline (whether he has dementia or not) so that when other tests are performed in the future there is something to compare them to.

Good luck and keep us posted on what you find out.

By Claude Henderso On 2010.12.18 19:02
I recommend a urinalysis. A UTI can triger quick changes up to and including acute deleriam. Claude

By Pearly4 On 2010.12.18 19:30
You'll find many definitions of dementia but basically its a word for a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain. It is not a specific disease. People with dementia may not be able to think well enough to do normal activities. They may lose their ability to solve problems or control their emotions. Their personalities may change. They may become agitated or see things that are not there.

Statistics say dementia will effect almost 50% of people by the age of 85.

It certainly can complicate life and I'd certainly join with others in suggestion a doctor visit may be in order to rule out other systemic problems.

By karolinakitty On 2010.12.18 19:52
I get some Alerts from John Hopkins. You have to register but, here is a link to the one about dementia... its basic but it helps.

http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/pdfs/JHHAGuideToDementia.pdf

If you have problems, send me an email and i'll send it to you....put in the subject ..PD/John Hopkins


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