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Module 2 Understanding dementia. 1 2. Understanding dementia This module covers: 2.1 How does our brain work? 2.2 What is the condition of dementia? 2.3.

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Presentation on theme: "Module 2 Understanding dementia. 1 2. Understanding dementia This module covers: 2.1 How does our brain work? 2.2 What is the condition of dementia? 2.3."— Presentation transcript:

1 Module 2 Understanding dementia

2 1 2. Understanding dementia This module covers: 2.1 How does our brain work? 2.2 What is the condition of dementia? 2.3 Alzheimer’s Disease and other diseases

3 Learning outcomes At the end of this module you will be able to Explain what the condition of dementia is Identify the main conditions that cause dementia Identify common changes as dementia progresses List the common types of dementia Explain the link between brain changes and changes in the person’s behaviour and abilities Identify common changes as dementia progresses Describe the impact of dementia can have on a person and discuss the uniqueness of people living with dementia. 2

4 Our brain linked to our behaviour Our brain is divided into parts Chemical messages between our brain cells and to and from our brain cells to parts of our body Later … What happens if brain affected by diseases or trauma? 2.1 How does our brain work? 3

5 Parietal Lobe Patterns e.g. language, arithmetic, everyday tasks Temporal lobe Memory Limbic region Sleep, appetite, emotions Our brain is divided into parts Frontal Lobe Planning, insight, learning, interpretation, behaviour 4

6 How does the brain work at the microscopic level? Nerve cell body Dendrites Axon Synaptic terminal Healthy brain cell (neuron) 5

7 Our brain ages as we age. Our memory may not be as good and we may not remember things as quickly or accurately We still manage our lifestyle and have the ability to think up strategies e.g. lists and reminders etc. Confusion due to dementia or major cognitive impairment is different – it disrupts lifestyles Normal healthy ageing and confusion 6

8 Confusion in the older person Increased sensory impairment or loss e.g. sight and/or hearing Anxiety and/or depression Unfamiliar surroundings Grief or loss (of significant person, role, ability or social function) Medication – over, under, mix or change Infection e.g. urinary tract infection A full bladder, constipation, incontinence Acute confusion - delirium 7

9 2.2 What is the condition of dementia? Dementia... is a condition that affects the brain and causes a progressive decline in a person’s functioning over time. Is an umbrella term for a large group of illnesses Can be caused by one illness or a mixture of illnesses at present, cannot be cured. 8

10 9 Physical changes to the brain Q. What are some common signs or symptoms of the condition of dementia?

11 10 Dementia: common changes memory attention language emotions behaviour physical abilities planning & organising insight & reality

12 How are these signs displayed individually ? Personality Family background Life experiences and narrative Hobbies and interests Likes and dislikes Contribution to the community General health Progression of dementia 11

13 Alzheimer’s disease – approximately 70% * Vascular disease – approximately 20% * Other illnesses – approximately 10% [* 20% - 30% mixed] There are over 60 other causes for the condition of dementia To date no medical cure for condition of dementia. Remember….it is very common for the symptoms of the condition of dementia to be caused by mixtures of illnesses that affect the brain What causes dementia? 12

14 Dementia statistics and current research Around 269,000 people in Australia have dementia. As Australia's population ages, more people will be affected by dementia. Dementia is the third leading cause of death in Australia, after heart disease and stroke. 13 In 2011, there were 1500 new people in Australia with dementia each week. That is expected to grow to 7,400 each week in Without a significant breakthrough this number expected to go to 1 million by Alzheimer’s Australia 2011

15 How common is dementia? 14 After 65yrs of age dementia doubles every five years. Over 85 yrs of age, one in four chance of developing dementia. But remember that two out of three people over the age of 90yrs of age do not have dementia. So … dementia is not a normal part of ageing

16 Medical research Younger onset dementia Understanding how diseases form (e.g. plagues and tangles) Medications – limit progression of diseases Gene therapy, stem cell research – repair or grow new brain cells Prevention – risk factors Non –pharmacological interventions Support and education for carers and staff Validation, music, social history narrative & reminiscence Enabling environments Current research in dementia 15

17 Vascular dementia Fronto-temporal dementia e.g. Pick’s disease Parkinson’s disease Younger onset dementia Infection e.g. AIDS complex Alzheimer’s disease Lewy body disease Alcohol-related e.g. Korsakoff’s disease Genetic e.g. Huntington’s disease 16

18 The brain of a person with Alzheimer’s disease shows significant loss of brain cells 2.3 Alzheimer’s Disease 17

19 Brain cells in the memory centre of the brain become damaged i.e. develop “plaques” and “tangles” Brain cells have increasing difficulty “talking” to each other and transmitting messages effectively A loss of connection between cells Brain cells die and the brain shrinks. Alzheimer’s disease 18

20 What happens to the the brain at the microscopic level? Nerve cell body Dendrite s Axon Synaptic terminal Healthy brain cell Damaged brain cell will eventually die Sticky plaques form around nerve endings Tangles appear in the cell body 19

21 Normal brain section (viewed from above) Brain section damaged by Alzheimer’s Disease (viewed from above) Slides courtesy of Duke University Medical Centre, Durham, North Carolina Brain damage in Alzheimer’s Disease 20

22 Damage caused by collapse of blood vessels (tiny strokes) which interrupt blood supply to the brain cell and causes brain cell to die These tiny strokes accumulate over time Symptoms depend on where tiny strokes occur in the brain Also known as “multi-infarct” dementia i.e. many ‘dead’ brain cells Vascular dementia 21

23 Combination of Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular dementia Lewy body disease Fronto-temporal dementia e.g. Pick’s disease Alcohol related dementia e.g. Korsakoff’s Infections that affect the brain e.g. HIV/ AIDS complex, ‘Mad cow disease’ (CJD) Younger people with dementia Other causes of dementia 22

24 Dementia can also occur in younger people ‘Younger onset dementia’ refers to people aged under 65 who are living with dementia Today, in Australia 15,000 people (estimated) and projected to rise more than 19,000 by the year (Access Economics 2009) Younger people with Dementia 23

25 The symptoms of dementia become worse over time How quickly it gets worse varies from person to person Abilities tend to fluctuate from day to day … like a faulty light switch Some parts of the brain might be unaffected for many years …what can the person still do and still enjoy? Older people with dementia commonly have multiple health problems Progression of dementia 24

26 How is dementia diagnosed? A proper diagnosis is very important A screening process to rule out other causes: Review of changes over time Medical history Physical check-up Cognitive tests e.g. Mini mental exam Hard to pinpoint when it starts (gradual onset; denial) 25

27 Remember – depression and delirium? Dementia Depression or anxiety Delirium = acute confusion 26 3 D’s – Dementia, Depression, Delirium

28 Intense or prolonged feelings of unhappiness Older people are particularly prone to depression because of a range of life events including: physical illness isolation, chronic pain, bereavement and loss (e.g. moving to residential aged care). Signs or changes Can be mistaken for physical illness. Supporting people who are depressed Depression 27

29 A ‘sudden’ state of severe confusion, often with hallucinations and physical agitation Delirium has a cause – and will not improve until the cause is treated. People with existing brain damage such as dementia are at increased risk of delirium Delirium is treatable Symptoms Possible causes Supporting people with delirium Delirium 28

30 1.Not all confusion is caused by the condition of dementia 2.The condition of dementia is caused by different illnesses that affect the brain 3.Dementia is progressive but some skills can be retained for quite a while 4.Dementia is not a normal part of ageing REMEMBER…We cannot change the progression of dementia but we can change the way we respond to the unique person behind the disease 29 Key Messages

31 1.“The doctor said my friend has Alzheimer’s disease. I’m glad it’s not dementia!” True or False 2.“If you’ve seen one person with dementia you’ve seen them all” True or False 3.“All old people eventually become senile” True or False 4.“People with dementia would do better if they just tried harder” True or False 5.“Once someone has dementia it’s important to take over and do everything for them” True or False 6.“Not every older person will get dementia.” True or False 30 What do you think?


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