Dementia is a broad term for any medical condition that causes memory problems and problems with at least one other brain function, such as speech, concentration, or more complex thinking involving problem solving, planning, and organization. Two of the most widespread forms of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for 60 percent of those with dementia, and vascular dementia which accounts for 20 percent. In 2013, 5.2 million in the U.S. were estimated to have Alzheimer’s, and this number is expected to rise to 7.1 million by 2025.
Although there are many exciting treatment possibilities being studied, there is not currently any way to stop or reverse the symptoms in most types of dementia. But because some dementias can be the result of reversible medical conditions, the first phone call should always be to one’s primary care physician to discuss the symptoms.
Though there is no cure, there is current treatment with a medication that helps injured brain cells work more efficiently, and there is a second kind of medication generally administered later in the process that can keep some healthy brain cells from dying. Because treatments are most effective when started early, it’s critical to get an early diagnosis.
We’ve gathered the following information and resources on dementia and Alzheimer’s disease to help you learn more and find the support and care that you or a loved one needs.
Pine Rest Services
- Care Resources PACE. The Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) model is a national model of care, centered on the belief that it is better for the well-being of seniors with chronic care needs and their families to be served in the community whenever possible. The Kent County program is called Care Resources PACE, which provides the entire continuum of care and services to seniors with chronic care needs while maintaining their independence in their homes for as long as possible. Contact: 616/913-2006, 800/610-6299 or www.care-resources.org
- Caregiver Resource Network. A collaboration of West Michigan organizations dedicated to providing for the needs and welfare of family and professional caregivers within the community. See web-site: www.caregiverresource.net
- Memory Screening Day. Held annually each fall. Contact: 616/222-4500
- Saint Mary’s Neuroscience Program. Pine Rest clinicians provide on-site psychiatry and neuropsychological testing at the memory Disorders Clinic and the Parkinson’s Clinic. Contact: 616/685-5050 or 877/702-5050
- Geriatric Education Center of Michigan (GECM). Administered by Michigan State University, GECM offers education and training for health professionals to enhance quality and availability of health care for older adults. Contact: 616/222-4550
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