The following was captured during our LIVE webinar Q&A for the course ‘Understanding Dementia in the Geriatric Population‘.
Q: Can a person who experiences a TIA possibly be showing the same type symptoms (especially the sexual comments) and it goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as a result of the TIA? what would be differences to look for between the two – dementia and TIA?
A: The physician and family, if possible, would really have to be involved in this conversation to explore past behavior. Any drastic change needs to be monitored with intense CAT scans and other tests to see where, and if any brain damage has occurred. Also, TIAs may cause short-term behavioral or mental changes that can interfere with medications, even if they were meds that had been taken over an extended period of time.
Q: Is senile dementia same thing as Alzheimer? Is it true that senile dementia is an outdated term and it should no longer be used?
A: I rarely hear the term senile dementia used. It’s also a redundancy. Senility has such a broad definition, whereas dementia is an outcome or symptom of a combination of issues or situational life experiences. Alzheimer’s manifests as a fairly consistent disease, unfortunately, the term can be used as a “catch-all” for demented behavior, physical and neurological.
Q: If a PCP is not picking up on early onset dementia symptoms, which type of physician/specialist should the patient follow up with next….for more detailed testing?
A: It’s super important that when assessing dementia-like behavior the professional reviews a complex number of variables, including environment, prior to labeling a patient with Alzheimer’s. This is one of the reasons it is so important for patients to have a second person with them when visiting a physician.
I also recommend that individuals go see a specialist in medication management or pharmacologist to ensure that medications are not causing dementia-like behavior. A neurologist should also be consulted, however, PCPs are typically the ones who are doing the diagnosing, as well as the prescribing for any medications for dementia.
If people are fortunate to live in areas with universities that have memory programs they are most fortunate because there are many team approaches that cover all bases, as well as comprehensive studies that look at dementia in a more holistic way.
Q: Is Dementia affecting more women or men?
A: more women have it, but the gap is closing as men live longer.
Q: if the kitchen is supposed to have calming colors, in one of the last slides why are the plates and cups bright red? Is there a reason?
A: As far as colors go you want to be consistent and differentiate between items. Walls in calming colors provide safety and comfort. A red fork enables the person to see the fork, hopefully understand how to hold it properly and not confuse it with other utensils.
Q: Are there any books that you recommend for a caregiver to read, mainly about eating issues.
A: There is a great book coming out in October by Dr. Marc Agronin about Caregiving for Dementia patients. Otherwise, there is the National Associating for Caregiving, a magazine called Today’s Caregiver, and a few brochures and reviewed articles. There is limited information, but that is changing. I am super pleased to provide this information, it’s so important because at some point each of us will know someone who is dealing with these dilemmas on some level. People become scared and assume the worst when in fact we know that some dementias can be fixed, allayed, or reversed, not everyone is going to get the worst form.
Q: Since physicians tend to provide medicine and not take into consideration their interaction with other medicine is there any discipline that can take a look into all their medication and give recommendation which ones can be deleted.
A: As far as physicians go we can expect that geriatric psychiatrists would understand how and when to medicate or not, but it doesn’t always happen. Unfortunately, in communities, nursing homes or hospitals, there are protocols that are considered appropriate, when in fact they have never dealt with this population before. It’s ironic, this demographic is the oldest and fastest growing, yet they are the newest and least understood because historically we have never had so many elderly people alive and receiving treatment.
Interested in this course?
Enroll in Speech Therapy University for Unlimited CEUs!