The Truth About Dementia

The word dementia gets used a lot when talking about aging and certain diseases. A common misconception is that dementia is a disease in itself. It is, in fact, a set of symptoms, which can be caused by a number of disorders.

The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Brain damage from an injury or a stroke can also cause dementia, as can other diseases like Lewy body dementia and Huntington’s disease.

The Stages of Dementia

Progressive dementia, which is dementia that gets worse with time, is the most common type. Five stages of progressive dementia have been outlined.

The five stages describe a patient’s ability to perform in six different areas of cognition and functioning: orientation, memory, judgment, home and hobbies, personal care, and community.

Stage 1 of the CDR ( Clinical Dementia Rating) represents no impairment in a person’s abilities.

Stage 2. A score of 0.5 on the CDR scale represents very slight impairments. Your loved one may have minor memory inconsistencies.

Stage 3. . With a score of 1, your loved one is noticeably impaired in each area, but the changes are still mild. Short-term memory is suffering and disrupts some aspects of their day. They are starting to become disoriented geographically and may have trouble with directions and getting from one place to another.

Stage 4.  A score of 2 means that your elderly relative is moderately impaired. They now need help taking care of hygiene. Although well enough to go out to social activities or to do chores, they need to be accompanied. At this stage there is more disorientation when it comes to time and space. They get lost easily and struggle to understand time relationships. Short-term memory is seriously impaired and it is difficult to remember anything new, including people they just met.

Stage 5. The fifth stage of dementia is the most severe. At this point your loved one cannot function at all without help. They have experienced extreme memory loss. Additionally, they have no understanding of orientation in time or geography. It is almost impossible to go out and engage in everyday activities, even with assistance. Function in the home

Lewy Body Dementia 

Although you may not be as familiar with Lewy body dementia as you are with Alzheimer’s disease,  Lewy body dementia is the second most common type of dementia . The Lewy Body Dementia Association reports that up to 20% of all dementia cases are due to Lewy body dementia.

Differences between Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) and Alzheimers


Symptoms can vary significantly in LBD. One day your relative might not be able to recognize you and the next day she/he can recall all the names of her/his grandchildren.


Typically in Alzheimers the persons’ ability to think and use his memory gradually declines. Not a big variation from day to day

Walking & physical Movement

Often early symtomin LBD is difficulty in walking,decrease in balance & physical movements. Frequent falling is also common

Walking & physical Movement

Usually physical deterioration does not occur in Alzheimers until the disease has significantly increased

Facial Expressions

Often LBD patients have a flat expression. Their faces show little emotion

Facial Expressions

Usually only developes in middle to later stages

Visual hallucinations

Where people see things that aren’t actually there is quite common

Visual hallucinations

Not really prevalent

Sleep behaviour Disorder (SBD)

People with LBD sometimes experience SBD, a dysfunction where they act out the situations in their dreams

Sleep behaviour Disorder (SBD)

Not typically present

Sensitivity to Antipsychotic meds

LBD patients treated with antipsychotic drugs may experience neuroleptic sensitivity such as, weorsening of connition, heavy sedation & irreversible Pakinsonism

Sensitivity to Antipsychotic meds

Aren’t nearly as prone.

Disease progression.

According to research LBD patients survival rate is less than Alzheimers partially due to falls and injuries and more hospitalizations.





Article Name
The Truth About Dementia
The word dementia gets used a lot when talking about ageing and certain diseases. A common misconception is that dementia is a disease in itself. It is, in fact, a set of symptoms, which can be caused by a number of disorders.
Publisher Name
Brenthurst Residence