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Alzheimer's and Dementia Resources

In the United States, approximately 5.7 million people are living with some form of dementia.  In Illinois, there were approximately 220,000 people living with Alzheimer's disease in 2018; that number is projected to increase by 18.2% by the year 2025, to 260,000. 

Dementia is defined as a decline in mental ability that is severe enough to impact an individual's daily life.  This means having new problems with everyday activities and may or may not include memory dysfunction.

Dementia is the term for a group of symptoms that occur when the brain is damaged by disease.  A diagnosis of dementia requires impairment in 2 or more core mental functions:  memory, language skills, visual perception, ability to focus and pay attention, ability to reason and solve problems.  There is no cure for dementia; progressive mental and cognitive decline is inevitable. 

If you suspect a loved one is living with dementia, early diagnosis can provide an opportunity for early interventions and care and allow the individual to participate in the decision-making process.  Always seek the counsel of a healthcare provider, since some conditions presenting as dementia are reversible, such as:  infections and immune disorders, diet, chemical imbalances, mismanagement of medicines and/or drug interactions, alcohol abuse, depression, toxins, carbon monoxide, isolation/sensory deprivation.

Types of Dementia

Alzheimer's Disease:  Alzheimer's Disease the most common form of dementia, and it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.  It is the only cause of death among the top 10 that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.  It is a progressive, degenerative brain disease which impairs memory, thinking and behavior.  In its final stages, the individual requires 24-hour care. Tips for Dementia Caregivers during COVID-19

Lewy Body Dementia:  Lewy Body Dementia is the second most common form of dementia and is marked by motor skill and language impairment and impaired self-care skills, including bathing, toileting, walking, sitting, eating, teeth brushing.  The individual may also experience attention/concentration issues and visual hallucinations as well as frequent falling and syncope (fainting) and depression.  Lewy Body Dementia is not considered to be a memory disorder. COVID-19 Prevention is the Best Medicine

Vascular Dementia:  Vascular dementia, also called multi-infarct dementia, is caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain, usually due to a stroke or a series of mini strokes.  Impairment depends on what part or parts of the brain have been damaged. Guidance for Caregivers of People Living with Dementia in Community Settings during COVID-19

Frontotemporal Dementia:  The symptoms of FTD fall into two clinical patterns that involve either changes in behavior or problems with language.   Behavioral symptoms include: increasingly inappropriate actions, loss of empathy and other interpersonal skills, lack of judgment, inhibition, apathy, repetitive compulsive behavior, a decline in personal hygiene, changes in eating habits (predominantly overeating), oral exploration and consumption of inedible objects – Hyperorality.  FTD is not considered to be a memory disorder.  COVID-19 and Frontotemporal Degeneration

Regional Alzheimer's and Dementia Centers:

SIU School of Medicine Center for Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders 

Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center  

Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine