As we get older, our bodies begin to go through changes. One of the biggest changes happens in our brains. The CDC estimates that around 5.8 million people have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

The signs of dementia can happen slowly. While the types of dementia are similar, there are key differences that make each of them unique. Understanding the types of dementia can make finding care for aging individuals easier. Keep reading for a clear breakdown of the signs of dementia and what you can do to take care of someone with it.

Alzheimer’s Disease

This is one of the most common forms of dementia, and often what is associated with the term “dementia.” Difficulty planning, memory loss, and difficulty doing familiar tasks are the most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Symptoms will start around 60 years old, and get worse over time. But, signs of Alzheimer’s dementia generally begin with memory loss.

Common Alzheimer’s symptoms include:

  • Mood and Personality changes
  • Losing things and being unable to retrace their steps to find it
  • Poor judgment
  • Difficulty speaking or writing
  • Not understanding or being confused about where and when they are

Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia happens as a result of a stroke. A stroke cuts oxygen off from your brain and causes damage in different areas. Depending on the location of the damage, vascular dementia will begin with poor judgment, trouble making decisions, and difficulty planning or organizing.

There are other symptoms of vascular dementia to watch out for:

  • Change to their personality or mood
  • Confusion and agitation
  • Difficulty walking and frequent falls
  • Disruptive memory problems
  • Struggle to speak or understand conversations
  • Inability to recognize familiar sights and sounds

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease impacts the nervous system. This can result in dementia related to Parkinson’s in 50%-80% of cases. Signs begin to appear ten years after a loved one develops Parkinson’s.

Dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s related dementia have similar symptoms. Both show signs of microscopic protein deposits known as Lewy bodies in their brain. This results in dementia when deposits develop in the cortex.

Symptoms that can occur include:

  • Inability to think, make decisions, or focus
  • Memory issues
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Blanking out or staring periods
  • Difficulty moving, tremors, slowness, and inability to walk
  • Physically acting out dreams

Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s disease is a brain disorder passed down genetically. Family members will have the gene at birth, but symptoms will only start between the ages of 30 and 50.

Many symptoms of Huntington’s disease are common with other types of dementia:

  • Difficulty reasoning and thinking
  • Memory issues
  • Judgment problems
  • Trouble planning and organizing
  • Difficulty concentrating

How to Help an Aging Individual with Dementia

After walking you through the main types of dementia, your next question is probably: what can I do to support a loved one with dementia? Many people will try to care for loved ones in their homes. As dementia develops it can be hard to meet the level of care someone needs.

The most popular home care alternatives are senior living facilities. These facilities offer 24/7 elderly care that can be specifically catered to your loved one. Treatment for dementia can vary depending on the type and severity, and their care should too.

Treating dementia is a process that requires empathy and understanding for the individual. Their world is changing, and that can be scary. Senior living facilities have trained professionals that can ensure your loved one gets the best care available anytime they need it.

Now You Understand the Main Types of Dementia

After walking you through the main types of dementia, determining the cause of changes in a loved one can be a little easier. Visiting a doctor can help get a diagnosis. When caring for a loved one becomes too difficult, reaching out to senior living facilities can reduce stress and guarantee excellent care.

If you’re looking for more health advice for yourself or a loved one, check out the rest of our blog!