The Department of Health and Human Services describes dementia as the loss of cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, and reasoning—and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person's daily life and activities. These functions include memory, language skills, visual perception, problem solving, self-management, and the ability to focus and pay attention. Some people with dementia cannot control their emotions, and their personalities may change. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person's functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of living.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a brain disorder affecting memory and other mental functions. It is the most common form of dementia (see below), accounting for ~70% of all cases. In the U.S. alone, a new case of AD is diagnosed every 66 seconds. There are two principal types of the disease: early-onset AD, which generally starts before 55 years of age, and
late-onset AD, which generally starts after 60 years of age. AD is just one type of dementia, which is a general term for a disease or brain injury associated with reductions in mental function, including memory.
Parkinson's symptoms usually begin gradually and get worse over time. As the disease progresses, people may have difficulty walking and talking. They may also have mental and behavioral changes, sleep problems, depression, memory. difficulties, and fatigue. Both men and women can have Parkinson’s disease. However, the disease affects about 50 percent more men than women. One clear risk factor for Parkinson's is age.
Although most people with Parkinson’s first develop the disease at about age 60, about 5 to 10 percent of people with Parkinson's have "early-onset" disease, which begins before the age of 50. Early-onset forms of Parkinson's are often, but not always, inherited, and some forms have been linked to specific gene mutations.
For many older people, coping with multiple chronic conditions is a real challenge. Learning to manage a variety of treatments while maintaining quality of life can be problematic. People with chronic conditions may have different needs, but they also share common challenges with other older adults, such as paying for care or navigating the complexities of the healthcare system.
Being discharged from the hospital doesn’t mean you are completely well. Many patients need additional services following their hospital stay. We can help support your health care team. Our caregivers, social workers and nurses specialize in connecting patients with available resources and will walk you through your options.
Frailty is described as a general decline or debility. Indicators may include weakness, fatigue, weight loss, low physical activity, poor balance, low gait speed, visual impairment and cognitive impairment.