Unit 4222-237 Dementia Awareness (DEM 201)
Outcome 1 understand what dementia is
Explain what is meant by the term “dementia” (201.1.1)
Dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. These changes are often small to start with, but for someone with dementia they have become severe enough to affect daily life. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body disease, a series of strokes or even a group of symptoms which may result from brain injury, vitamin/hormonal imbalance, drugs and alcohol. These diseases have factors in common and can cause a person to have their mental functions affected in lots of different ways. An inability to retain new information, they may lose the ability to understand written/spoken language, they may lose the ability to speak and be understood by others, finally they may lose the ability to process and understand visual information. The specific symptoms that someone with dementia experiences will depend on the parts of the brain that are damaged and the disease that is causing the dementia. The main symptoms are usually confusion, loss of memory, changes in personality and behavior, problems with speech and understanding and the decline in the ability of daily living tasks. Dementia causes permanent and progressive damage to the brain so confusion will most likely be present.
Describe the key functions of the brain that are affected by dementia (201.1.2)
The cerebral cortex (the largest part of the brain) is divided into different regions which are known as lobes. Each lobe controls different functions.
Temporal lobe – Learning new information, recording and storage of verbal memory (such as names), and visual memory (such as faces).
Frontal lobe – Organising and planning actions, language, logic, personality, regulating behaviour, learning tasks, theoretical thought, initiating and stopping.
Parietal lobe – Sentence construction, calculation, locating objects, body sense, remembering sequences of actions, interpreting info received from the occipital lobe.
Occipital lobe – Processing info about shape, colour, and movement received from the eyes.
Every type of dementia involves progressive physical damage to the brain. The main areas affected in most dementias are the Temporal lobe, frontal lobe and the parietal lobe.
Explain why depression, delirium and age related memory impairment may be mistaken for dementia (201.1.3)
Depression is often difficult to tell apart from dementia. Depression will usually start over a period of days, weeks or months. People may speak, think and move more slowly and they may become ill-tempered or disconcerted and recent memory might be impaired. Depression and dementia can coexist. Depression leads to difficulties with activities of daily living. Dementia is associated with other psychiatric symptoms such as depression in 1/3 of cases.
Delirium can be caused by physical illness, drug and alcohol abuse. An individual suffering from delirium may experience visual hallucinations, confusion, misperceptions, clouded thinking and awareness, disturbed sleep and day/night reversal, agitation and poor attention. Common causes for delirium are: Chest, skin, ear and urinary infections, prescribed drugs, alcohol, and hypoxia and so on.
Changes to our normal cognitive abilities will occur as part of the ageing process. This could mean that we can’t remember things as we used to or think as quickly as we used to. This could be mistaken for dementia. The changes should be gradual and not get in the way with daily activities. If however the changes are more dramatic and affecting daily activities it could possibly indicate dementia.
Outcome 2 Understand key features of the theoretical models of dementia
Outline the medical model of dementia (201.2.1)
The medical model of...
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