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Learn Why the Progression of Dementia May Vary for Latinos

progression of dementia in senior hugging caregiverA new study sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association is uncovering some striking findings in how dementia may present differently in Hispanic people. While additional exploration is required to fully understand whether these differences are the result of social/cultural nuances or perhaps the dementia itself, it’s worthwhile information for Latino families to know.

Daily Activities

One feature of the study was the considerably faster decline in the capability to execute everyday activities, like walking, getting dressed, and taking a shower, when compared with other ethnicities. Andrea Ochoa Lopez, the University of Houston doctoral student who conducted the research, clarified that the cultural dedication to looking after older loved ones may be a contributing factor.

“Some families want to start doing everything for their older members to try and remove some of the burdens and make their lives easier,” she mentioned. “But there is research showing that when cognition is declining, older people actually do better when they stay active. And there is also still stigma. They may not want their elder family member to be seen as ill or mentally unstable.”

Depression and Anxiety

While we realize anxiety and depression are risk factors for dementia, a separate research study of 5,000 people showed a significantly higher percentage of Hispanic individuals reporting these issues: more than 25%, as compared to approximately 16% and 11% in black and non-Hispanic white participants, respectively. Centering on the mental health of people with dementia is vital. Clinical psychologist Michael Cuccaro points out, “We have lots of great evidence that medications and talk therapy help, but minorities have the lowest rate of getting this help.”

Although more thorough scientific studies are necessary to better comprehend these ethnic differences in dementia, finding minorities to be involved in research is still challenging. Latinos currently comprise fewer than 8% of present dementia scientific studies – regardless of the fact the prevalence of dementia in Latinos is as much as 50% more than it is in non-Hispanic whites.

Families interested in current Latino dementia research opportunities can visit the Alzheimer’s Association’s TrialMatch website to learn more.

At Responsive Home Care, our professional caregivers are fully trained and experienced in helping seniors with whatever their particular challenges are, making life the very best it can be. We accomplish this by consulting with each senior in his or her home before the start of services, enabling us to create a customized care plan. We then carefully monitor the care plan over time to make certain that needs are always completely met, both now and as needs change as time passes.

If the need is for only a little assistance with housework and meals, transportation and companionship, or if some more specialized dementia care is needed, Responsive Home Care, the experts in home health care in Pembroke Pines, FL and nearby areas, provides the ideal solution. Contact us to set up your free in-home consultation to learn more.

How Does Dementia Progress? What Families Should Expect

Female home carer hugging senior male with dementia

“How does dementia progress?” is one of the top questions asked after a loved one is diagnosed.

When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, one of the first questions in most people’s minds is how does dementia progress in the weeks, months, and years to come. We know that the hallmark of dementia is the progressive decline in cognitive abilities and the skills required to manage daily life. Yet each person progresses through these changes differently. There are a variety of factors that can impact the rate of decline, including:

  • Medications the senior is taking
  • Overall health and physical makeup
  • The network of support in place
  • The person’s general emotional wellbeing and resilience

There are additional determinants to factor in based upon the specific type of dementia diagnosed. For instance:

  • MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment): Mild cognitive impairment impacts up to 20% of seniors. More than the normal minor cognitive decline experienced in aging, MCI involves problems with language, judgment, thinking, and memory that are obvious to the senior individually and often to others as well. Researchers found that about 38% of seniors with MCI later developed dementia. The other 62% never progressed further than MCI – and in some cases, their condition actually improved, for unknown reasons. Signs of MCI include forgetfulness, depression, impulsiveness, anxiety, apathy, aggression and irritability, and more.
  • Vascular Dementia: Because vascular dementia is caused by a blockage in blood flow to the brain, the type of blockage will impact the progression of the disease. If small blood vessels are blocked, for instance, the decline will typically occur gradually. Major blood vessel blockage can cause a sudden onset of symptoms, followed by intense periods of change thereafter.
  • Lewy Body Dementia: Progression of Lewy body dementia may be gradual, but may also include widely varying degrees of alertness and attention in the early stages. One day may find the senior lucid, while the next day – or even several hours later – could bring confusion, hallucinations, and memory loss. In the later stages of the disease, agitation, restlessness, aggression, tremors, and stiffness become more prevalent.
  • Frontotemporal Dementia: Unlike other types of dementia, short-term memory is usually not impacted in the early stages of frontotemporal dementia. Instead, early symptoms include behavioral changes, such as distraction, apathy, rudeness, and disregard for social norms. As the disease advances, problems with language become apparent as well, along with memory loss, vision problems, and other typical symptoms seen in Alzheimer’s disease.

Contact the dementia care team at Responsive Home Care for more helpful resources to help you better understand and care for someone you love with dementia. We’re always here to assist with compassionate, creative care to make life more fulfilling for a senior with dementia, and to help family members achieve a better life balance. Reach out to us online or give us a call us at (954) 486-6440 to learn more about our elder care in Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding areas.