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Impact of Neurological Illness

Speech and language difficulty commonly affects individuals with dementia and other neurological conditions. Patients may experience deficits in the form of verbal expression (i.e., word-finding difficulty) or comprehension (i.e., difficulty understanding speech).

Alzheimer’s disease (AD)

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive, degenerative brain disease that slowly erodes memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out simple tasks. It is the most common cause of dementia.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Practical Tips for Daily Life

Activities of daily living are divided into two major categories. The first, often called instrumental activities, includes more complex types of activities such as paying bills, shopping, managing medications, working and driving. The second category is activities related to personal care and include eating, bathing, dressing, getting in or out of bed or a chair and using the toilet. In the beginning of the disease, the patient will have trouble completing the instrumental, complex activities. As the disease progresses, the person will have difficulty managing the more basic functions and will need help from caregivers.

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Alleviating Symptoms

Living with the symptoms of neurodegenerative disease can be frustrating, difficult and even scary. The first step is to recognize that these behaviors are part of the changes in the brain. The person has little or no control over them and isn't behaving this way on purpose. Often times, behavioral and environmental changes can help prevent or stop these behaviors. For some symptoms, medication may be helpful.

Aggression

Aggressive behavior may become more common in some forms of dementia due to the brain’s inability to control impulsive actions.

Tips for preventing aggression

  1. Ensure the person does not have pain and see the person's regular doctor for any illness. A change in behavioral symptoms may be triggered by even minor illnesses such as a cold or by pain such as arthritis.
  2. When talking to the person, do not use sarcasm or abstract thinking. Instead, be concrete.
  3. Reduce external distractions when talking, e.g., TV, radio, busy places.

Overview

Dementia can be caused by a number of different conditions; it is a symptom of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, frontotemporal dementia or corticobasal degeneration. The term "dementia" describes a progressive, degenerative decline in cognitive function that gradually destroys memory and the ability to learn, reason, make judgments, communicate and carry out daily activities. While it often includes memory loss, memory loss by itself does not mean that a person has dementia. Dementia affects 17–25 million people worldwide.

Dementia is not a specific disease; it is a collection of symptoms that can be caused by a number of disorders, including neurodegenerative disease. The term "dementia" describes a progressive decline in memory or other cognitive functions that interferes in the ability to perform your usual daily activities (driving, shopping, balancing a checkbook, working, communicating, etc.). The deterioration is more than might be expected from normal aging and is due to damage or disease.

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