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Channel: Vital Touch, LLC
Hi, I’m Mark with Vital Touch, here to talk to you about dementia. I’ll be discussing four types of dementia, and more importantly how to work with people who have dementia, but first I would like to give you an overview of what dementia is. Generally speaking, dementia is the interruption of cognitive abilities and thought processes that we use to govern our daily lives. Generally speaking, people with dementia have short term memory, but they are unable to convert it into long term memory. So I have clients that I see once per week, and I have to introduce myself each time because they don’t remember me. This is quite normal for people who have the varying types of dementia. What’s important to understand about dementia is that dementia is not a disease; it’s a syndrome. A syndrome is a collection of symptoms, like carpal tunnel syndrome or thoracic outlet syndrome.
There are four main types of dementia, the most common being Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s results in a loss of short term memory: Conversations they have had with you in the past, forgetting people’s names. Later in life, as this syndrome progresses, it can actually result in death.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be accelerated by childhood trauma or brain injuries.
Common symptoms of Alzheimer’s include temporal confusion, not knowing what time it is, what day it is, what day of the week. It’s a lack of orientation to current time lines. They have difficulty with self expression; they don’t talk much. They express themselves in other ways. Often, when you and I misplace items, we’re able to retrace our steps to find those lost items; people with Alzheimer’s are not able to do that. They are unable to retrace those steps. They often have personality and mood changes, they have poor judgment, and most notably they have a tendency to wander off; it’s called “sundowning,” and it’s one of the main symptoms of Alzheimer’s. The end of the day comes and they try to wander away from the care facility, because they think they’re going home, not realizing that they are home. So that’s a very common thing in Alzheimer’s, again it’s called “sundowning.”
The next type of dementia I would like to discuss with you is called Lewy Body dementia, or dementia with Lewy Bodies. This was named after Frederic Lewy, who founded the disease in 1912. It’s characterized by protein deposits attaching themselves to neurons, which leads to the inhibition of the neurons firing in the brain.
This happens in the cerebral cortex. It leads to gait imbalances, they can’t walk straight, they have sleep disturbances and often have hallucinations that are very clear and vivid.
Other common symptoms of Lewy Body dementia include: Impaired decision making, they can’t make decisions clearly, there’s a lack of short or long term memory, sleepiness during the day, because this syndrome is exhausting, they have long periods of staring at things, longer than you or I have, and very violent dreams, very significant nightmares.
The third type of dementia that I’ll discuss with you is Parkinson’s, which has many of the same symptoms as Lewy Body dementia, but adds muscle tremors, or involuntary muscle twitches.
The fourth type of dementia that I’ll discuss with you is called Ischemic Dementia or Vascular dementia, which as the name implies results from blood flow being cut off to part of the brain. Obviously, the symptoms will vary depending on which part of the brain was effected but there are symptoms that people with vascular dementia generally have in common.
Generally, they have disruptive memory problems, difficulty with self expression, they have an inability to recognize things that are usually familiar to them.
they have confusion or agitation, and they have ambulatory problems, they’re unable to walk so they end up in a wheelchair.
So this is all well and good, but the important thing is, how do we work with these people? Generally I work with these clients fully clothed. It’s a great way to avoid boundary problems, and honestly, disrobing would take a lot of time, so logistically it just makes sense.
They respond very well to gentle work, they respond very well to being soothed. It’s great if you can access their back, but honestly they like having even just their hands and feet worked. I am finding that a lot of them really yearn for connection, connection with another human being. It doesn’t really involve any advanced massage skills, it just requires looking at massage perhaps a little differently, and working with these people differently than you would in a traditional massage.
So if you know anybody with these conditions, or if you’re a care giver for anybody with these conditions, I would love to hear from you, and I’d love to help you. I’m Mark with Vital Touch, my website is vitaltouchmassagedenver.com, or I can be reached at 303.819.0097. Thanks for watching.
Video length: 9:19
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