although impaired memory and cognitive disturbance are characteristics of dementia, the specific cognitive, emotional, and behavioral deficits the person with dementia experiences will differ depending on the type of dementia, stage of disease, and individual factors. Moreover, one or more causes of dementia can co-exist, as in the case of the older adult suffering from both Alzheimer disease and Vascular dementia, and cause a “mixed” symptomatology, in which the characteristic losses of more than one disease are seen. As a result, knowing the type of dementia is important to guiding decisions about nursing interventions, methods used to assess cognitive impairment, and definitions of dementia. Alzheimer disease is the most common type of dementia. Characterised by the presence of neurofibrillary plaques and tangles in the brain, it can be caused by a variety of genetic, environmental, and other factors. The prevalence of Alzheimer disease increases markedly with advancing age, with the highest rates among those 80 years and older. Diagnostic criteria include the presence of cognitive deficits, including memory impairment and one or more additional cognitive disturbances, significant decline from previous levels of functioning, and gradual and continuous decline of ability. Behavioral symptoms are not common in early stages; even memory loss is often concealed by use of preserved social skills and memory aides. Over an eight-to-ten-year period, increasing functional dependence and loss of ability to manage aspects of daily life (such as shopping, food preparation, medication and financial oversight, and driving) is observed. Eventually, grooming, toileting, bathing, dressing, and eating become impaired. Dementia with Lewy bodies is characterized by the presence of concentric hyaline intracytoplasmic inclusions (called Lewy bodies).
Patients with Dementia may forget to eat, or never technically feel ‘hunger’. This can lead to a nutrient deficiency and leave them dehydrated
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