Maryland Dementia Patient Attorney

It is estimated that over 5 million people in the United States are suffering from dementia. That means most of us know someone whose life is affected by this condition. Yet, despite its prevalence, there are a number of misconceptions regarding dementia. For example, some people mistakenly confuse dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, even though these terms have different meanings.

Through a better understanding of dementia, we might be quicker to recognize its onset in others and be better equipped to help our loved ones cope with the condition.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is a group of symptoms affecting mental functions, such as memory, reasoning and language processing. It is more likely to occur in older adults, and the chances of developing dementia increase with age. Dementia can be caused by a number of factors, only one of which is Alzheimer’s disease.

Common Causes of Dementia

  • Degenerative Diseases – Including Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease
  • Strokes
  • Vascular Disease
  • Chronic Drug or Alcohol Use
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Liver Cirrhosis
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Brain Damage
  • Drug Interactions
  • Brain Tumors.

Signs of Dementia

While some symptoms of dementia also mirror signs of aging, the severity and acuteness of these symptoms might indicate the early development of health problems that cause dementia. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty remembering simple routine functions, such as cooking or cleaning
  • Difficulty remembering familiar faces and names
  • Difficulty keeping track of time
  • Asking the same questions repeatedly
  • Changes in hygiene
  • Personality changes
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Poor decision-making.

Treating Dementia

Since dementia is a group of symptoms rather than a disease, treatment is often dependent on the underlying cause. If drug interactions cause dementia, then changing the medicines might improve symptoms. If a brain tumor is causing the symptoms, then treatment of that tumor might also alleviate symptoms.

Dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease and other types of similar diseases is much more difficult to treat. However, even in these cases, it might be possible to slow the advancement of symptoms through the use of certain medications.

Diagnosing Dementia

Doctors will examine cognitive functions through a number of tests. These examinations will identify problems with memory, reasoning, language skills and focus. CT, MRI and PET scans might help identify physical causes of dementia, such as strokes, tumors or the presence of amyloid protein, which is a sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

Caring For Loved Ones With Dementia

If your loved one is suffering from dementia, you might wonder what you can do to provide adequate care for that person. First, you’ll need to understand the causes at the heart of the condition. You can then educate yourself and your family members on what to expect in the future and what types of medications might be helpful in treating or alleviating the symptoms.

You can also make changes to your loved one’s living quarters. These changes include fixing slippery surfaces, installing rails or grab bars, and putting away or removing dangerous devices, such as portable space heaters. If the dementia becomes more advanced, or you discover you may need to care for Alzheimer’s then should consult a medical professional.

The Role of Assisted Living Facilities

Unfortunately, coping with the dementia of a loved one can sometimes mean placing them in an assisted living facility. While this is never the first choice of family members, it can often be the only option left in the face of advanced dementia. If you have made this difficult decision, you should be aware of the risks of placing a loved one in an assisted living facility. Elder abuse is a common concern in assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

Types of Elder Abuse in Assisted Living Facilities

If your loved one suffered abuse from their caregiver, you might be able to take legal action. By holding the abusers responsible, you can ensure the safety of your loved one and decrease the likelihood that others will endure similar abuses in the future. The elder abuse attorneys at the Law Offices of Roger S. Weinberg, LLC can help you identify signs of abuse and seek justice for the mistreatment of your loved one.

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