While it is often under-diagnosed and misdiagnosed, the dementia problem is growing. Dementia is not one disease, but a group of different subtypes, each with a different cause, prognosis and treatment. The various types also have differing manifestations. There is a widespread belief that because there is no cure, that means there is no hope. However, it is clear that getting an accurate diagnosis early in the process can make a huge difference in the quality of life for both the dementia patient and their family members.
There are several other reasons why an accurate diagnosis is so important.
- In vascular dementia, new vascular events can be prevented. This can limit worsening of the dementia.
- The diagnosis of a mild cognitive impairment can prompt some patients to make lifestyle changes in order to delay or avoid progression of the disease to full-blown dementia.
- If an exact type of dementia is not diagnosed, it can make it difficult for caregivers to address the particular dementia behaviors.
- Caregivers often find it helpful to attend support groups that have members who are dealing with the same type of dementia. A proper diagnosis allows caregivers to find a group they can relate to.
- An accurate diagnosis is necessary to ensure that a dementia patient is prescribed the correct medication. Not all dementia medications are appropriate for all kinds of dementia. Taking the wrong medication can cause additional problems.
- The best place to get a correct dementia diagnosis is from a neurologist or memory care clinic.
Besides more careful diagnosing, there are also other aspects of the disease that need to be addressed. There will need to be more attention to prevention, better support for caregivers, and more quality housing options available.
For help with finding the housing option that best meets your needs or the needs of someone you love, contact A Caring Heart today for a consultation.