Many people believe that dementia is one disease, just as they believe that Alzheimer’s disease is its own disease. What they don’t realize is that it is actually a category of memory loss used to generalize the many different forms. According to the Alzheimer’s Association®, dementia actually consists of multiple types of memory loss including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body, mixed or frontotemporal dementia, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and so much more.

According to Cydney Hansen, Marketing Director, at CountryHouse, a memory care community in Granite Bay, CA, because of all the different forms of dementia, it’s easy to categorize them under one main umbrella. “By simply calling each of these forms of memory loss ‘dementia’, it can cause a lot less confusion, but don’t let that make you think they are all the same, in fact, they are all drastically different,” she states. “Each form of memory loss has its own symptoms, and each causes a different change in the brain. Memory loss is truly unpredictable, and it’s important to know the differences, especially when it comes to the health and wellness of your loved one who is affected.”

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

After a loved one is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you may not know exactly what it is or what it affects. To help you or a loved one better understand what Parkinson’s disease is and how it affects seniors, it can help to do some research. Sources such as the Parkinson’s Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association® can help to inform you of what Parkinson’s disease is, but we’ve broken down some of the main points to help increase your knowledge and make it less overwhelming.

  • Parkinson’s disease a disorder that affects the dopamine-producing neurons in the brain
  • Symptoms generally develop slowly over the years, although progression is different for everyone
  • Many symptoms don’t appear until later in the disease because neurons have been lost or impaired
  • Around 50 to 80 percent of those with Parkinson’s disease develop dementia because of impairments in the brain

What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

Signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease vary based on the stages of the disease, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation, although they can differ from person to person. However, these are the basic signs to looks for at the beginning of Parkinson’s disease:

  • Tremors. You may notice that your loved one is shaking or having tremors on one side of their body or in a specific body part. While this can be normal if you are being active, if you notice your loved one is at rest when tremors occur it can signal Parkinson’s disease.
  • Handwriting changes. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, handwriting may get smaller because of a symptom called micrographia. This changes the way words are written, the size and the spacing.
  • Issues with smell. If your loved one can no longer smell certain foods, try to figure out which they are. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, if your loved one is unable to smell food such as bananas, dill pickles or licorice, you should ask their doctor about Parkinson’s disease.

When memory loss begins to occur in those with Parkinson’s disease – on average within 10 years after the onset – they may also have the following symptoms, according to the Alzheimer’s Association®.

  • Changes in memory. Like other forms of dementia, you may notice your loved one begins to have trouble remembering things and may have more trouble concentrating. Judgement can also be altered as time goes on.
  • Speech changes. Over time, speech changes can occur because of damage to the brain. This can cause your loved one’s speech to become muffled, or they may have issues finding the right words.
  • Hallucinations and delusions. Your loved one with Parkinson’s disease may begin to believe they see things that are not actually there or may become more paranoid. If you notice they begin to blame others for missing items or believe others are stealing from them, you should talk to their doctor.
  • Depression and anxiety. Because of all the changes occurring, your loved one may begin to ride an emotional rollercoaster. Your loved one may be embarrassed or self-conscious about their abilities or be anxious that others will treat them differently. If they begin to get depressed or it affects their life deeply, it’s important to talk to their doctor.

These are just a few of the many symptoms of dementia within Parkinson’s disease. Each person can experience different symptoms, and the severity can differ. For more information about the symptoms, talk to your loved one’s doctor.

Can Parkinson’s Disease Dementia be Cured or Treated?

According to the Alzheimer’s Association®, there are no treatments that can help to stop or slow the brain cell damage caused by dementia in Parkinson’s disease. However, some medications may be able to help treat certain symptoms such as thinking changes, movement symptoms, depression and anxiety.

For more information about Parkinson’s disease and dementia, contact CountryHouse at Granite Bay. We’d love to help you navigate the challenges of Parkinson’s disease and help you better understand the disease and its effects. Call us today at 916•778•9665.

Treating people like family is at the heart of what we do.

CountryHouse at Granite Bay is the very first CountryHouse location in California. With a desirable location among Folsom Lake and the Sierra foothills, and only 25 miles northeast of Sacramento, Granite Bay was the perfect area to place our upscale memory care community. While CountryHouse at Granite Bay may be brand new to California, we are certainly not new to the needs of seniors. And just like every CountryHouse around the United States, we know that personalized care can make all the difference when it comes to quality care and peace of mind.

At CountryHouse at Granite Bay, we provide personalized memory care in an environment that is beautiful and thoughtfully designed. Full of natural light, warmth and tasteful elegance, we want residents and their families to feel welcome and at home. In fact, our staff members are even hand-picked based on their natural empathy. Our staff learns each resident’s story, from their likes and dislikes,to their values and their pasts, in order to customize care and make meaningful connections that provide residents with true moments of joy and the desire to make the most of each day.

With our LifeCycles wellness programming, we encourage residents to connect, engage and enjoy every day. Our LifeCycles programming is designed to focus on the four dimensions of wellness: physical, social, spiritual and intellectual. We achieve this through a range of daily activities and routines, which can include daily bus rides, cookouts, trips and other special events. At CountryHouse at Granite Bay, we strive to make sure our residents make the most of each day, and we believe that when you treat people like family, and keep that at the heart of what you do, residents, their families and their health thrive. Contact us to learn more!

Connect with us today or call us at 916•850•2774 for more information or to schedule a visit.

CountryHouse is part of the Agemark family of senior living communities.