Dementia and Family Care

Essay by paon December 2008

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Contents:Dementia 3Epidemiology and demography of dementia 4Stages of dementia (from a biological perspective) 5Stages of dementia (from a psychological perspective) 7Challenging behaviours for a client with dementia 9Ethical and legal issues related to dementia care in a family context 11Aged care intervention associated with challenging behaviours 13Conclusion 18References 19DementiaThe World Health Organisation (WHO, 1986 cited in Delieu, & Keady, 1996) defines dementia as a"global impairment of higher cortical functions, including memory, the capacity to solve problems of day-to-day living, the performance of learned perceptuo motor skills, the correct use of social skills and control of emotional reactions, in the absence of gross clouding of consciousness. The condition is often irreversible and progressive."The onset is usually insidious and fortunately the sufferer does not realise what is happening (Watkins, 1987). Although the cognitive functions of learning and memory decline with age (Campbell, 1990), this condition is not a normal consequence of growing old, but the prevalence does rise with age (Eliopoulos, 1987).

The most common cause of cognitive impairment in the community setting is Alzheimer's disease (AD) (Dellasega & Cutezo, 1994).

The multifactorial aetiology of AD include: age, genetic factors, education (as a protective against AD), female sex (with increasing risk after menopause), history of head injury, exposure to heavy metals and toxins (such as Zinc and Aluminium), positive family history of trisomy 21 (Forsyth & Ritzline, 1998). Confirmed risk factors for AD are old age, family history of AD and Down's syndrome. Other possible risk factors are head trauma, depression, ulnar loops, family history of Down's syndrome and environmental factors such as aluminium (Fares, 1997), anaesthesia, immunologic defects and some intrinsic metabolic factors such as disruption of biochemistry in brain cells (Kaplan, 1996).

Epidemiology and demography of dementiaThere is a wide variation in prevalence rates reported by difference studies. Much...