What is Dementia?
Dementia is an illness with an average duration of seven years that is characterized by symptoms that fall across a continuum of seven stages. As such, it is a disease that requires chronic care management. In addition, many older adults with dementia frequently have multiple chronic conditions and co-morbidities that require complex management, often by multiple medical specialists. Thus, primary care providers are central to the care and management of dementia patients, whether or not they assume primary responsibility for diagnosing the dementia. The FLCEAD promotes the centrality of the primary care practice and the patient-centered medical home in the care of older adult patients, as well as coordinated integration of a full range of demential services into primary care.
Relationship to Alzheimer's Disease
Dementia is the term applied to a group of symptoms that negatively impact memory, but Alzheimer's is a progressive disease of the brain that slowly causes impairment in memory and cognitive function. The exact cause is unknown and no cure is available.
10 Warning Signs of Dementia:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure
- Confusion with time or place
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality
(as posted on the Alzheimer's Association website)