Dementia is used to describe a range of symptoms that occur when the brain is affected by certain diseases. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular Dementia result in chemical and structural changes in the brain. Dementia involves a person’s mental abilities progressively decline; these abilities include remembering things, making rational judgments and communicating. People with dementia will see a change in personality and behaviour; they will also have difficulty carrying out day to day activities such as cooking, cleaning, washing and dressing.
Description Of Key Functions Affected By Dementia
The frontal lobe is responsible for movement, emotional behaviour, personality, interpretation and feeling. Sufferers will have difficulty walking and picking things up. They will also have difficulty understanding people, expressing emotion and showing what they are feeling. There may also be a change in personality.
The parietal lobe is responsible for language, spacial awareness and recognition. Sufferers will have difficulty communicating, they may also have difficulty remembering family members or where they are.
The temporal lobe is responsible for long term memory, speech and hearing. Sufferers will have difficulty remembering things from their past, they will also have difficulty communicating due to the lack of speech and not being able to hear.
The occipital lobe is responsible for vision so sufferers will some sort of visual impairment and could go completely blind.
The cerebellum is responsible for balance, posture, and muscle coordination. Sufferers will suffer from falls due to lack of balance and will also have difficulty sitting up.
The limbic system is responsible for emotions and smell. Sufferers will have difficulty expressing emotions and identifying scents.
The hypothalamus regulates thirst, appetite, body temperature and also sleep cycles and patterns of sleep. Sufferers may not be able to tell if they are thirsty or hungry, they may also have trouble regulation their body temperature. Sufferers may also have difficulty sleeping at night.
The hippocampus takes recent memories and turns them into stored memory. Sufferers will have short term memory loss.
The thalamus is responsible for muscle movement and processing sensory information. Sufferers will difficulty moving and sensing things around them.
Depression can be mistaken for dementia because a person who is depressed can show similar symptoms. Depression effects concentration, motivation and the ability to manage everyday tasks.
Delirium is sometimes referred to as a toxic or acute confusional state. As with depression symptoms can be similar to dementia and can develop quickly but are usually reversible. Symptoms of delirium include hallucinations and delusions, problems thinking and severe confusion.
Age-related memory impairment
Age-related memory impairment is a normal part of the aging process. As people age changes occur in the brain and as a result people might find they don’t remember things as well or they lose things like their glasses, they may also find it takes them longer to learn new things. These are signs of mild forgetfulness not a serious memory problem however it is often mistaken as an early sign of dementia.
The dominant model of dementia was the medical model until the early 1990s. In the medical model dementia is described as an organic brain disorder that causes impaired cognitive abilities and nothing can be done. The medical model seeks to restrict choices, create dependency and disempower, it promotes the view that the person with dementia is the problem because they cannot function properly and therefore need to be cared for. The model gives very little thought to the person because it focuses on the