The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, but other illnesses and conditions can also cause dementia. Persons with dementia may become confused and forgetful. They may begin writing "reminder" notes to cover up their forgetfulness. They may become withdrawn or retreat into a more simplified lifestyle. They may hide what they consider to be their "precious" belongings in an effort to safeguard them; and then forget where they hid them and accuse others of stealing them. In the early stages of dementia, many people do not understand what is happening to them and are embarrassed, or perhaps they are fighting to maintain a sense of independence. In addition to the loss of recent memory, persons with dementia suffer a gradual loss of judgment, abstract reasoning, and social capabilities. You may notice that a loved one seems to be inattentive to conversation, or fails to grasp the whole context of a social situation. As the person loses the ability to assimilate information, his or her responses will become less adept. Initially, these changes will be subtle, but over time, they will become more pronounced.
As the various symptoms appear, persons with dementia are likely to have emotional reactions. They may appear apathetic and demonstrate a lack of facial expression, accompanied by a flat tone of voice that may alternate with an extreme change of personality; or they may become paranoid or suffer from hallucinations and delusions. They may become anxious or irritable, and may even strike out physically.
Since dementia may be caused by many different conditions, it is important to see a physician for an accurate diagnosis and ongoing treatment. To make an appointment with a physician trained to diagnose and treat patients with dementia, provide ongoing care, behavioral management, and house calls, telephone the UT Patient Navigator at 832-325-7696.
Don't Ever Let Anyone Tell You That Being a Caregiver For a Person with Dementia is Easy..... Because It's Not!
Learning that a family member has been diagnosed with dementia is only one of the many startling realities families and caregivers face. Medical and legal issues, changes in lifestyle and in living arrangements, understanding how to cope with behavioral problems, and learning strategies to reduce the stress of the person with dementia and the caregiver are important.
Knowledge and support are the keys to successful caregiving. Fortunately there are a number of resources available to help you. The local Houston and SE Texas Alzheimer's Association has educational and support information available for persons with dementia and their caregivers. In addition to a variety of educational materials, they have support groups at different times in many parts of SE Texas, a 24 hour helpline, an online newsletter, educational conferences for caregivers, and other special programs. Printed materials available in Chinese, Korean, and Spanish. For more information contact:
Houston & Southeast Texas Alzheimer's Association
2242 West Holcombe Blvd.
Local Resources for information and assistance:
United Way of Greater Houston
50 Waugh Drive
Houston, Texas 77007
Gateway to Care
Houston, TX 77004
The City of Houston Department of Health and Human Services(HDHHS)
Harris County Area Agency on Aging
8000 North Stadium Drive 3rd Floor
Houston, Texas 77054
3838 Aberdeen Way (at Stella Link)
Houston, TX 77025
Texas Resources for information and assistance:
Texas Information and Referral Network
The Texas Information and Referral Network home page allows you to search for health & human services throughout Texas or call 211.
Texas Department of Aging and Disability (DADS)
701 W. 51st St.
Austin, TX 78751
P.O. Box 149030
Austin, TX 78714-9030
Texas Department of State Health Services
1100 W. 49th St.
Austin, TX 78756
512-458-7200 or 1-800-242-3399
Alzheimer's and Related Disease Program
Texas Department of State Health Services
PO Box 149347
Austin, TX 78714-9347
National Resources for information and assistance:
National voluntary health organization committed to finding a cure for Alzheimer's and helping those affected by the disease.
225 North Michigan Avenue 17th Floor
Chicago, IL 60601-7633Tel: 312-335-8700 1-800-272-3900 (24-hour helpline)
National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health
Authoritative and up to date health information on over 600 diseases and conditions provided by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health. There are also lists of hospitals and physicians, a medical encyclopedia, information on prescription and nonprescription drugs and links to medical trials. This site is also searchable in Spanish.
A government resource with information on hundreds of diseases, prescribed and over-the-counter drugs.
Eldercare Locator is a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging that connects older Americans and their caregivers with sources of information on senior services. The service links those who need assistance with state and local area agencies on aging and community-based organizations that serve older adults and their caregivers.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Official site for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services with updates on eligibility and regulations.
Nursing Home Compare
Provides a tool to compare the past performance of every nursing home in the US that takes Medicare or Medicaid funding. The report includes basic information on size, ownership, etc and information on state inspections and the number and type of deficiencies.
601 E Street NW
Washington, DC 20049
Wealth of information on available elder services, questions to ask about housing and information on long-term care financing.
Caregiver Information and Newsletter
120 Clinton Lane
Cookeville, TN 38501-8946
Nonprofit, tax-exempt, charitable organization that offers information about care for patients with Alzheimer's-type dementia. Publishes and distributes a newsletter, cookbook, and the Caregiver's Information Pack.
Family Caregiver Alliance/ National Center on Caregiving
180 Montgomery Street Suite 1100
San Francisco, CA 94104
Tel: 415-434-3388 800-445-8106
Supports and assists families and caregivers of adults with debilitating health conditions. Offers programs and consultation on caregiving issues at local, state, and national levels. Offers free publications and support online, including a national directory of publicly funded caregiver support programs.