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Dementia Program

Cognitive Issues Facing Older Adults

Memory loss is not a normal part of aging yet it is often assumed to be.  Any change or decline in cognition should always be investigated. While not every older adult will have mental health issues, it’s important to understand some of the most common issues and what sort of things should be considered red flags.

Vascular (Blood Vessels) Conditions

Dementia: A decline in cognitive function, due to death or malfunction of nerve cells in the brain; conditions in which nerves in the brain degenerate, as well as alcohol abuse and strokes, can cause dementia.

Risks include:

  • Family history
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Elevated cholesterol levels
  • History of depression
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • High estrogen levels

Stroke: Blood flow and oxygen are suddenly interrupted to an area of brain tissue, which then may die. The body part controlled by the damaged brain area (such as an arm or a leg) may no longer function properly.

Risks include:

  • Family history
  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Illicit drug use
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

Neurodegenerative Conditions

Alzheimer’s Disease: For unclear reasons, nerves in certain brain areas degenerate, causing progressive loss of memory and mental function, and changes in behavior and personality. The buildup of abnormal tissue in brain areas — often called tangles and plaques — is believed to contribute to the disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.

Risks include:

  • Family history
  • Being female
  • Past injury to the head
  • Social isolation
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Low intake of fruit and vegetables
  • Pre-existing conditions like hypertension, high blood cholesterol and diabetes
  • Lack of mental stimulation

Parkinson’s: Nerves in a central area of the brain degenerate slowly, causing problems with movement and coordination. Early signs are a tremor of the hands, stiffness of the limbs and trunk, slowness of movement, and unstable posture.

Risks include:

  • Family history of Parkinson’s disease
  • Being male
  • Exposure to toxins like herbicides and pesticides

Cypress HomeCare Solutions has a specialized Dementia Program.  Call today to see how we can assist you and your family.

Posted on July 16, 2018