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Understanding the Different Types of Specialty Dementias

Join The Kensington White Plains for a continuation of The Kensington’s Brain Health Series with our upcoming event, “Understanding Specialty Dementias: Symptoms, Communication Practices and Resources.”

In this interactive presentation, we’ll have leading experts discussing the common symptoms of each type of dementia. They’ll help educate viewers on the differences between these different types of brain diseases. 

Our expert presenters include Jennifer Reeder, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Seminar in Field Instructor for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA); Corey Esannason, Registered Yoga Teacher, and Ambassador with the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD); and Norma Loeb, Founder and Executive Director of Lewy Body Dementia Resource Center of New York (LBDRC).

If you or your loved one has been living with dementia, then make sure to watch the event recording.

We’ll briefly summarize a few different types of dementia, their causes, and explain how memory care services can help.

What are Some of the Different Types of Specialty Dementias?

Dementia isn’t a specific disease but a general term used to describe many diseases that affect the memory, language, cognition, and problem-solving parts of the brain. 

There are numerous types of dementia, with Alzheimer’s being the most recognized and common cause of dementia.

However, there are other types of dementia that you may or may not have heard of. These include:

  • Lewy Body Dementia
  • Frontotemporal Dementia
  • Vascular Dementia
  • Parkinson’s Disease

Of people who have dementia, 60-80% of them have Alzheimer’s. 

Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia.

What Causes Each of These Different Dementias?

Most dementias are the result of microscopic buildups of protein in the brain that clump together to block neurons from communicating with each other, resulting in atrophying of the brain, neuron destruction, and eventually death.

However, the mechanism and type of protein differ from each type of dementia. The following are an explanation of the causes of different types of dementia:

Alzheimer’s Disease

Microscopic clumps of proteins, called beta-amyloids, form in the brain causing “plaques and tangles.” These plaques and tangles interfere with the brain’s ability to communicate with itself and the nervous system. This causes causing negative cognitive consequences and eventually death.

Lewy Body Dementia

Like Alzheimer’s, protein deposits develop in neurons (brain cells), and negatively affect the brain’s ability to think, memorize, or control motor movements. These proteins are Lewy bodies.

Frontotemporal Dementia

Microscopic proteins, called Pick bodies, similarly accumulate within neurons to affect emotions, behavior, personality, and language. Another term for Frontotemporal Dementia is Pick’s disease, named after Dr. Arnold Pick who studied patients with dementia.

Vascular Dementia

Unlike the other types of dementia on this list, vascular dementia does not involve protein accumulation. Instead, diseased blood vessels in the brain cause a reduced blood supply that affects judgment, memory, and other processes.

Vascular dementia is typically developed after a stroke blocks an artery in the brain, but this isn’t always the cause.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease in itself is not a type of dementia, but a neurological disease caused by the loss of neurons in the brain. However, after several years Parkinson’s often leads to Parkinson’s disease dementia, which is caused by Lewy bodies, similar to Lewy Body Dementia. 

What Are the Differences Between Lewy Body Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s?

Every type of dementia is ultimately caused by either protein build-ups or blocked blood vessels interfering with the body’s ability to communicate or to receive important nutrients necessary for proper brain function.

However, there are some key differences that can help differentiate these dementias from each other, which include:

  • Lewy Body Dementia typically involves hallucinations and REM sleep disorder.
  • Parkinson’s disease dementia may occur after living with Parkinson’s disease for several years.
  • Alzheimer’s disease causes a lack of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter affecting the person’s ability to form new memories. 
  • Parkinson’s disease and Lewy Body Dementia are more likely to result in changes in walking or movement, and balance problems.

What are the Prevention and Treatment Options for Dementia?

Doctors still don’t concretely understand what causes the different forms of dementia. While there are hereditary links associated with each disease, it’s not a given that these diseases will be passed down through generations.

There’s ongoing research studying the effects of environmental pollution and whether or not it causes dementia.

The best way to prevent these types of dementia from forming is maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, keeping socially and mentally active, getting enough sleep, and controlling high blood pressure.

There is no one drug that can cure dementia, unfortunately. However, there are several medications that can help ease the symptoms and prolong the lives of people living with dementia.

Medical research case studies are underway testing the effectiveness of monoclonal antibodies, a special type of drug that can remove beta-amyloid from the brain, which is the main cause of Alzheimer’s.

How Memory Care Services Help those with Dementia

Memory care communities help those suffering from memory loss caused by dementia by placing them in a safe, structured environment to lower their stress levels.

These specialty communities employ set routines and physical activities to create consistency within their residents’ lives, and often feature wander-technology to keep track of their whereabouts. 

Because sundowning, or wandering, is common with people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, memory care communities provide a higher level of security than traditional assisted living.

Many, but not all, memory care communities offer acuity care to accommodate various levels of need in all stages of dementia. This can include:

  • A Hoyer lift to move for those who are wheelchair-bound
  • Two-to-three person assistance to help residents getting up
  • Pureed diets and specialty diets
  • Feeding tubes, IVs, and catheters
  • Wound care
  • Insulin injections
  • Assistance with colostomy and ileostomy conditions
  • Assistance due to movement disorders

The Kensington continues to provide specialized, extremely high levels of care and is also dedicated to creating a safe environment for its residents. This standard of excellence allows the Kenisignton to provide an exceptional care experience, more so than any other senior living community in the area. 

The Kensington White Plains, Your Partners in Care

The Kensington White Plains is an enhanced assisted living and memory care community located in White Plains, New York.

Our goal is to help each of our residents live independently as long as they are able. Our enhanced license enables us to provide care for those who require high acuity care and who are experiencing memory loss.

We specialize in providing memory care services and have two distinct memory care neighborhoods — Haven and Connections. Each community is specially designed to help those in the early to advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.

Our community also offers on-site rehabilitation, all-day dining services, life enrichment programs, and around-the-clock staff of licensed nurses.

The Kensington White Plains are your partners in care and providing love and support for your loved one. We promise to love and take care of your family as we do our own.

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