Dementia is an umbrella term for conditions associated with cognitive impairment. If your senior loved one is living with more than one form of dementia, his or her condition is referred to as mixed dementia or multifactorial dementia. Because Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common type of dementia, it’s typical for older adults with multifactorial dementia to have AD and another form of dementia such as vascular or Lewy body dementia. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about mixed dementia.
It’s More Likely to Develop Because of Age
The Alzheimer’s Association notes age is a common risk factor for many forms of dementia. The association also says multiple forms of dementia are more likely to develop as affected seniors get older, but not in any specific order. For instance, Alzheimer’s may develop first, and other forms of dementia could come along later.
If your loved one is living with cognitive impairment and other symptoms resulting from dementia, help is just a phone call away. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Bethlehem Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
You May Never Know Your Loved One Has Mixed Dementia
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) cites a study based on post-death evaluations of individuals with Alzheimer’s that reported more than half of the subjects had another type of dementia. While research like this suggests mixed dementia may be fairly common, you may never know for sure if your loved one has it during his or her lifetime.
Misdiagnosis Is Common
As mentioned above, it’s common for Alzheimer’s to be one of the types of dementia associated with mixed dementia. For this reason, your loved one may be evaluated and diagnosed with AD based on the symptoms present at the moment. And because there’s no standard test for identifying mixed dementia (or any other type of dementia, for that matter), it’s only likely to be diagnosed if the doctor notices:
• Symptoms not typically associated with Alzheimer’s
• Symptoms that progress faster than what’s typical with AD
• Unexpected reactions to initial treatment/symptom management efforts
Seniors with dementia often need help to be able to live at home safely. Families looking for top-rated senior home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.
FDA-Approved Alzheimer’s Medication May Be Effective
No medications are currently approved specifically for mixed dementia. However, some seniors with multifactorial dementia do respond well to drugs already approved by the FDA to manage AD. According to Verywell Health, studies involving participants with mixed dementia who were given common AD medications reported some improvement in memory and thinking. Others have shown a slowdown in the progression of cognitive decline.
Treatments Specific to Identified Dementias May Be Helpful
If your loved one is diagnosed with mixed dementia, he or she may benefit from treatments for the specific forms of dementia identified. A common mixed dementia combination is Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, which is related to brain damage caused by a disruption of blood flow, such as what happens during a stroke. If this is the case with your loved one, treatment may involve:
• Managing cholesterol levels
• Lowering blood pressure
• Controlling blood sugar, if your loved one has diabetes
You Should Focus on Your Parent’s Immediate Care Needs
Because it’s entirely possible to not know whether your loved one has mixed dementia, it’s best to simply provide the type of care that’s immediately needed. That being said, if you do notice symptoms that seem out of the ordinary, bring them to the doctor’s attention. Some seniors with mixed dementia also benefit from cognitive-based therapies that help them retain memory capabilities.
Even when families have the best intentions, caring for a senior loved one with dementia can be challenging. Fortunately, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a leading provider of dementia care. Bethlehem families can take advantage of our flexible and customizable care plans, and our caregivers always stay up to date on the latest developments in senior care. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. Reach out to one of our compassionate Care Managers today at 484-350-3874.