Tips, news bites, product reviews, and people in the news for professional and family caregivers who want to keep up with the world of dementia care. This is a companion blog to www.dementiatoolbox.com, a product line which provides education to caregivers while supporting dementia and caregiving causes worldwide.
In an effort to help family and professional caregivers recognize the nuances of cognitive decline within their loved ones, some new terms are out there that need defining: Subjective Cognitive Impairment (SCI) and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).
The PET scan, short for "Position Emission Tomography" is a test that we are seeing used more regularly as a means of determining the type of dementia that someone may have.
Remember, there really are no true diagnostic tests or series of medical tools that tell us that dementia is absolutely present in a person suspected of having dementia. A physician may start with a simple Mini Mental State Examination, in which a person may be asked a series of questions to test their cognitive and memory skills. The physician may run other medical tests, including CT scan or MRI, which each look at the shape or structure of organs within the body to detect irregularities. The PET scan is different.
Frontotemporal Dementia is one of the many types of dementia but is not a form of dementia that most people are familiar with. What makes Frontotemporal Dementiaso different than Alzheimer's Disease, which is the most common form of dementia?
Wandering is a form of dementia behavior that can be scary if safety precautions are not in place. A simple definition of wandering in a dementia context would be a person with dementia walking or wheeling about an area with seemingly no purpose in mind. Wandering is considered a behavior because there is a reason why the person is wandering. It could be pain, the need to toilet, or emotional such as feeling lost in a strange place.
Agnosia is defined as the loss of ability to recognize objects, persons, sounds, shapes or smells even when all the basic sensory functioning is in place. It is a complicating and confusing phenomena to dementia caregivers everywhere.
Last time we talked a bit about the value of having a neurologist as part of your team. A neurologist is a medical doctor who has done advanced training in understanding the central nervous system which includes the brain.
A neuropsychologist is a practitioner who many people are unfamiliar with, yet a neuropsychologistcan help unravel some of the mysteries of dementia and bring understanding to the dementia caregiver.
In recent discussions with dementia caregivers, it seems apparent that many primary family physicians are ill-equipped to render a diagnosis of dementia. There are many exceptions to this hypothesis (many internists and other family doctors doing a great job in this area) yet over and over, we see a person coming into a healthcare setting without any guidance to the caregivers from the primary doctor concerning clear indications of dementia.
That's why it may be helpful to seek a referral to either a neurologist or a neuropsychologist.