The Different Types of Dementia: Is It Alzheimer’s or Something Else?

different types of dementia - ft lauderdale caregivers

Different types of dementia share similar symptoms, but need different treatment.

A senior who exhibits loss of memory, confusion, poor judgment, repetition, and problems with performing daily activities has the distinguishing signs of Alzheimer’s disease, right? Actually, what appears to be a clear case of Alzheimer’s may really be one of several different types of dementia – in particular, one that has just recently been identified. 

Known as LATE, or limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy, this diagnosis has nearly identical symptoms, but the underlying cause is another story. Instead of the buildup of amyloid plaques and tangles inherent in Alzheimer’s, LATE is diagnosed by deposits of TDP-43 protein, as reported by Dr. Julie Schneider, associate director for the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center. 

And TDP-43 protein troubles happen to be quite common in elderly people, with as many as one in four people over age 85 affected enough to cause noticeable cognitive and/or memory issues. Yet it remains an under-diagnosed condition, which could result in misdiagnoses, and therefore, inappropriate treatment. 

The newest guidelines call for people who have been determined to have LATE to be pulled from Alzheimer’s medication research, concentrating research alternatively on establishing biomarkers to better recognize LATE, to find therapeutic intervention methods, and to expand testing to include a wider variety of diverse populations, in order to improve both prevention and treatment. 

Becoming familiar with the different types of dementia is vital to proper treatment, and according to Dr. James Pickett, head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, “This evidence may also go some way to help us understand why some recent clinical trials testing for Alzheimer’s disease have failed – participants may have had slightly different brain diseases.”  

Key aspects of LATE include: 

  • Mainly affecting seniors over age 80 
  • A much slower advancement than Alzheimer’s
  • Usually only affects memory
  • Could be accompanied by Alzheimer’s disease, which leads to a far more rapid decline 

Whether Alzheimer’s disease, LATE, or some other type of dementia, Responsive Home Careproviding the Ft. Lauderdale caregivers families trust, offers the fully customized, skilled and creative caregiving that helps seniors live the best possible quality of life where it’s most comfortable: at home. Our care aides are fully trained and experienced in assisting individuals diagnosed with dementia, along with helping family caregivers to more fully manage the varying difficulties experienced in each stage.  

Contact us any time at 954-486-6440 to inquire about more dementia care resources, discover answers to your questions, or to schedule an in-home consultation to find how we can assist someone you love with dementia. Visit our Service Area page to see if we’re available to help in your neighborhood. 

The COVID-19 Crisis Resources Seniors and Family Caregivers Need

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These trusted crisis resources can help keep you safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Understanding where to turn with regard to the latest, most dependable info on COVID-19, particularly as it relates to the elderly and family members who take care of them, is extremely important – and complicated. With many resources and differing opinions on this serious topic, we want to help make it more straightforward to locate what you need by sharing the following list of trusted crisis resources.  

  • AARP Answers Common Questions About COVID-19: AARP provides a running bulleted list of all of the most current updates connected with COVID-19, as well as what seniors should do to minimize their chance of contracting it and answers to several common questions. 
  • COVID-19 Guidance for Seniors: The CDC’s COVID-19 Guidance for Older Adults web page consists of a great deal of information, such as assistance with calculating who is at greater risk, symptoms, methods to protect yourself, a checklist for the home, stress and anxiety coping advice, plus much more. 
  • Coronavirus: What Seniors and People With Disabilities Should Know: ACL offers details on what older adults and those with disabilities need to know to reduce the risk of catching and spreading the disease, in addition to signs and symptoms, state-by-state guidelines, and an extensive directory of federal and non-federal resources. 
  • CaregiverSpecific Resources/Articles on COVID-19 Safety: The Family Caregiver Alliance offers caregiver-specific resources and articles to help family caregivers increase the protection of the older adults within their care. 
  • Extensive Commonly Asked Questions List on Caregiver COVID-19 Issues: DailyCaring, an award-winning website dedicated to caregivers, created a common questions page to provide answers to dozens of questions, including precautions to take when visiting an older adult’s house, information on how to sanitize packages, proper handwashing techniques, and so much more. 
  • NAHC COVID-19 Resources: The National Association for Home Care & Hospice advocates for the scores of older adults who receive in-home care, as well as for people who provide that care. Their COVID-19 information page offers articles, webinars, interactive tools, and much more.

For further resources to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and for safe, trustworthy, in-home care to enhance wellness and comfort for the older adults you love, get in touch with Responsive Home Care, the top providers of home health services in Fort Lauderdale, FL and the surrounding area, any time. Following a stringent protocol to ensure the safety of the older adults we serve, we can assist with an array of home care services, which include:  

  • Buying groceries and running other errands, to enable seniors to stay safe in the home 
  • Planning and preparing delicious meals 
  • Companionship to ease loneliness and stress through conversations, films, hobbies/interests, games, puzzles, and much more 
  • Keeping the house thoroughly clean and sanitized 
  • Medication reminders 
  • Specialized care for people with dementia 
  • And many others 

Connect with Responsive Home Care at 954-486-6440 for an assessment within the safety and comfort of home, to learn the way we can assist your loved ones. 

How to Help a Loved One with Alzheimer’s when Wandering Occurs

Alzheimer's wandering - sunrise home health

Alzheimer’s disease often causes a person to wander, possibly into a dangerous situation. Learn more about how to keep your loved one’s home safe to prevent wandering.

Of the numerous ramifications of Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps one of the most worrying is the person’s tendency for wandering and also the potential dangers that can develop if the senior becomes disoriented or lost. Alzheimer’s wandering can occur any time the older adult is:

  • Frightened, confused or overwhelmed
  • Searching for someone or something
  • Bored
  • Attempting to preserve a familiar past routine (for example, going to a job or shopping)
  • Taking care of a simple necessity (such as getting a drink of water or going to the bathroom)

The objective is twofold; to help keep your loved one safe, as well as to make certain his / her needs are fulfilled to try and stop the desire to wander. Try the following safety measures if your senior loved one is likely to wander:

  • Make sure the home is equipped with a security system and locks that the senior is not able to master, such as a sliding bolt lock above his or her range of vision. A variety of alarms can be found, from something as simple as placing a bell over door knobs, to highly-sensitive pressure mats which will sound an alarm when stepped on, to GPS products that may be worn, and more. It is also wise to register for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return Program.
  • Conceal exits by covering up doors with curtains, positioning short-term folding barriers strategically around doorways, or by wallpapering or painting doors to match the surrounding walls. You could also try placing “NO EXIT” signs on doors, which can sometimes dissuade those in the earlier stages of dementia from trying to exit.
  • Another danger for those who wander is the elevated risk of falling. Go through each room of the home and tackle any tripping concerns, such as removing throw rugs, extension cords, and any obstacles which might be obstructing walkways, installing extra lighting, and placing gates at the top and bottom of stairways.

It’s important to keep in mind that with guidance and direction, wandering is not necessarily a problem. Take a walk with each other outside if weather allows and the senior is in the mood to be mobile, providing the added benefit of fresh air, physical exercise, and quality time together.

Although often difficult to manage, the dementia care team at Responsive Home Care, Sunrise home health care leaders,  is specially trained to be equally vigilant and proactive in deterring wandering and to employ creative approaches to help seniors with dementia stay relaxed and content. Reach out to us at 954-486-6440 to learn more about Alzheimer’s wandering and other dementia tips! View our full service area.

Paranoia in the Elderly: What to Do When Dad Seems Irrational

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It surprises some to learn that paranoia in the elderly is a common issue. Learn more about how to respond to an aging parent that may be acting irrational.

“Listen to me, there’s a dog inside my closet! I hear it growling all night long. We need to find its owner!”

Hearing a senior loved one voice worries that you know to be false is unsettling – but not abnormal. The initial impulse may be to try to rationalize with the individual with a response such as, “Nonsense! There’s absolutely no way a dog could have gotten into your closet!” Yet for various reasons, this is often the least successful solution to take care of paranoia in the elderly.

Instead, at Responsive Home Care, we encourage the following approaches in order to help restore a sense of calm and well-being:

  1. First and foremost, arrange an appointment with the senior’s physician. It is vital that you discover any cognitive problems in order to be certain he or she receives appropriate treatment if needed. There also could be prescription side effects at play.
  2. Find out the thinking associated with the irrationality, and then determine how to remedy the situation. For example, perhaps the heating and cooling vent near the closet is starting to become loose, or an air vent is blowing onto a row of hangers and leading to an unusual sound.
  3. In lieu of trying to correct the senior loved one, respond lovingly with assurance and empathy. Concentrate on accepting the feelings being conveyed, as well as on having the person know that you will be there to help. Accompanying the senior into another area and providing interesting distractions, such as listening to music, baking, gardening, or browsing through photos together, can help restore calm.
  4. One of the smartest ways to overcome any obstacle is as simple as finding out what has assisted others in the same situation. Think about joining an in-person or online community of family caregivers, allowing for the exchange of helpful knowledge and information. A number of choices are available, such as AgingCare.com’s caregiver discussion forum.
  5. Seek the support of a professional home care provider, such as Responsive Home Care providing home health care in Pembroke Pines and the surrounding area. Our caregivers are skilled at assisting the elderly to remain active and involved, and in helping to ease challenging and difficult behaviors. Partnering with an established and reliable caregiver also will provide you with much-needed respite to take a break from caregiving duties while being confident your loved one is receiving top quality care.

For more advice on helping your senior loved one through obstacles with growing older, dementia or chronic illness, reach out to the specialists in home health care in Pembroke Pines and the surrounding area at Responsive Home Care. We are always readily available to answer any questions, share resources specific to the challenges you are encountering, and to provide a free in-home consultation and development of a customized care plan to improve wellbeing for a senior loved one. Contact us any time at 954-486-6440.

Responsive Home Health is now Responsive Home Care!

Responsive Home CareIt’s official: As of May 1, 2017, Responsive Home Health has changed its name to Responsive Home Care!

As the national home health care regulations continue to evolve, the distinction between home health and home care has become clearer. The difference lies in physician ordered, skilled medical home health versus the supportive, comprehensive personal home care Responsive provides. Although our ownership and our incredible staff who have been responding with care since 1994 remain the same, our new name better describes the work we do, providing in-home care services such as personal care, light housework and meal preparation, medication reminders, companionship and fall prevention, just to name a few.

Our comprehensive care approach helps older adults remain safe and comfortable at home, reducing re-hospitalizations through a team approach to care—meaning our caregivers, care coordinators and nursing staff all work together to meet the many facets of care for the whole person. We also provide oversight of that care to ensure that families and care providers receive the information needed, changes in health are proactively reported, and no need goes unmet. The result? Seniors who are safe, healthy, active and engaged.