Aspen Senior Care

According to The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD), Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) refers to a progressive disease process which causes a group of brain disorders. These disorders result in cell damage to specific areas of the brain – the frontal lobes and/or the temporal lobes.  The atrophy of these nerve cells interferes with brain activity and causes a loss of function in these regions of the brain.

Frontotemporal Dementia is different from other types of dementia in two important ways:

  • The trademark of FTD is a gradual, progressive decline in behavior and language with memory usually remaining intact. As FTD progresses it gets more difficult for the person to plan or organize activities, interact with others appropriately, and care for themselves.
  • In the majority of cases, FTD occurs earlier in life in people between the ages of 45 to 65, although it has been seen in people as young as 21 and as old as 80.

Frontotemporal Dementia is often misdiagnosed as a psychiatric problem or a movement disorder, such as Parkinson’s Disease. This is because certain symptoms of FTD mimic other diseases and in other cases, individuals are considered “too young” to have dementia.  According to AFTD, Alzheimer’s Disease is another possible misdiagnosis; however, the largest difference is that FTD affects language and behavior, while AD affects memory. 

Brain image of FTD vs Alz: image from medschool.ucsf.edu

Image from medschool.ucsf.edu

FTD makes up about 10%-20% of all dementia cases and the course of FTD ranges from 2 to over 20 years. The average length is about 8 years from the beginning of symptoms. It affects both men and women and, in some cases, can be inherited.

According to HealthLine.com, symptoms of FTD differ depending on the area of the brain affected, but most symptoms fall under behavior or language.

Common Frontotemporal Dementia behavioral issues include:

  • Loss of empathy
  • Inappropriate actions
  • Compulsive behavior
  • Lack of inhibition or restraint
  • Neglect of personal hygiene and care

Common Frontotemporal Dementia language-related symptoms include:

  • Difficulty speaking or understanding words
  • Problems recalling language
  • Loss of reading and writing skills
  • Difficulty with social interactions

Cognitive and Emotional symptoms of FTD include:

  • Difficulty planning, organizing, and/or executing activities
  • Becoming less involved in daily routines
  • Abrupt mood changes
  • Apathy
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Becoming distracted
  • Reduced initiative

FTD Movement symptoms include:

  • A difference in gait, such as walking with a shuffle
  • Tremors
  • Muscle weakness, or cramps
  • Clumsiness
  • Apraxia (Loss of ability to make motions which are usually common and easy, such as using utensils)

Proper diagnosis is crucial because some medications used to treat other types of dementia may be harmful to a person with FTD. Unfortunately,  AFTD reports no cures at this time. However, research is ongoing and rapidly increasing, and new drugs are beginning to be clinically tested.  

Most importantly, remember that those dealing with any form of dementia are not doing these things on purpose. When providing care, caregivers sometimes trigger behaviors without realizing it. By understanding more about the many different types of dementia, caregivers can begin to improve quality and enjoyment of life at whatever stage of dementia a person happens to be in.

Visit The Association for FrontoTemporal Degeneration

AFTD helpline: 866-507-7222


Learn about different types of dementia in our other blog posts!

Understanding Dementia

Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease

What is Vascular Dementia?

What is Lewy Body Dementia?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Aspen Senior Care provides in-home care for seniors with all types of health challenges, including all forms of dementia.

Aspen Senior Day Center in Provo provides adult day care services (fun activities and personal care) for seniors with all types of dementia.

Contact Karen Rodgers, Family Caregiver Coach, for a free assessment to help you navigate the challenges of caregiving. You can reach her at 801-224-5910.

Visit aspenseniorcare.com or call our office at 801-224-5910 for more information.

It is helpful to begin by answering the question, what are Lewy bodies? Named after the scientist who discovered them, Lewy bodies are tiny abnormal protein deposits (also known as alpha-synuclein) found in the brain.

Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is caused when Lewy bodies build up in the brain’s nerve cells. Eventually, Lewy bodies overtake the cells and cause them to die. They are so small they can only be seen with a microscope and can affect any part of the brain. According to The Lewy Body Dementia Association, these Lewy bodies affect individual’s behavior, sleep, body movements, and the ability to reason and make decisions. 

Image of a Lewy body in a neuron of the brain.

Unfortunately, LBD is believed to be underdiagnosed. This is due to overlapping symptoms found in Alzheimer’s as well as Parkinson’s Disease. 

Although the symptoms of LBD are similar to these diseases, LBD affects the brain differently. Because of this, getting an accurate diagnosis is important in managing this type of dementia. Some medications used to treat Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia may actually cause dangerous and permanent side effects in people with LBD.

Three Presentations of Lewy body dementia

Lewy body dementia is a term used to describe three related clinical diagnoses:

  • There are some individuals who present with neuropsychiatric symptoms (hallucinations, issues with difficult mental activities, and behavioral problems) which lead to an initial LBD diagnosis.
  • Some people may be initially diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after experiencing movement disorders. Later they develop dementia and are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD).
  • Others will first experience memory and cognition disorders which can be mistaken as Alzheimer’s Disease. Over time these people develop more distinctive features of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), resulting in an accurate diagnosis of Lewy body dementia.  

According to The LBDA, “A rather arbitrary time cutoff was established to differentiate between DLB and PDD.  People whose dementia occurs before or within 1 year of Parkinson’s symptoms are diagnosed with DLB.  People who have an existing diagnosis of Parkinson’s for more than a year and later develop dementia are diagnosed with PDD.

Symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia include:

  • Detailed visual hallucinations
  • Individuals may experience depression, anxiety, agitation or other behavioral or mood symptoms
  • Difficulty with movements such as walking, tremors, or stiffness
  • Difficulty sleeping, interruptions to sleep, or vivid dreams
  • Losing the ability to manage body functions such as bladder or bowel control, blood pressure, or body temperature

Because Lewy bodies can affect many different parts of the brain, there are multiple symptoms that can occur. As more and more nerve cells deteriorate, symptoms can increase and become worse.

Treatments

At this time there is not a cure for Lewy body dementia and the course of treatment will vary from person to person. Because each person experiences different symptoms, and each symptom requires a different form of treatment, it is important to seek medical advice from a doctor to determine the best plan of care.

How you can help your loved one 

A woman with her arm around a friend

Learn what you can do to support your loved one.

The Alzheimer’s Society recommends developing tactics which may assist individuals who are experiencing symptoms. Making lists, writing events on the calendar, or setting reminder alarms can be good techniques to use for memory loss. Walks or other active daytime activities may help with sleep disturbances. Seeking professionals such as neurologists, or physical therapists may help with movement symptoms.

It is also recommended to reassure those experiencing hallucinations that you are there to help them and not that what they are experiencing is not real.

Most importantly, remember that those dealing with any form of dementia are not doing these things on purpose. When providing care, caregivers sometimes trigger behaviors without realizing it. By understanding more about the many different types of dementia, caregivers can begin to improve quality and enjoyment of life at whatever stage of dementia a person happens to be in.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Learn about different types of dementia in our other blog posts!

Understanding Dementia

Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease

What is Vascular Dementia?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Aspen Senior Care helps seniors with all types of dementia. We provide professional caregivers to assist them in their homes and to give the family caregivers the break they need.

Aspen Senior Day Center in Provo provides adult day care services (fun activities and personal care) for seniors with all types of dementia.

Contact Karen Rodgers, Family Caregiver Coach, for a free assessment to help you navigate the challenges of caregiving. You can reach her at 801-224-5910.

  1. We specialize in helping seniors live at home longer.

Sometimes daily tasks become difficult for your loved one to accomplish and a loving and helping hand is all they need to maintain a good quality of life at home. Aspen Senior Care’s trusted professional caregivers offer non-medical services to help your loved one live comfortably in their own home for as long as they desire.

Here are the words of two of our clients:

  • My mother’s caregiver helps her with bathing, feeding her breakfast, getting her dressed, making her bed, and doing her laundry. The caregiver also takes out the garbage and makes sure the kitchen is cleaned up. She does everything.

Lynn B.

  • My caregiver cares about me and takes care of me, then takes care of things around the house.

Lois C.

Our specific services include:

Aspen Caregivers – We love what we do!

  • Caring companionship
  • Shower assistance
  • Hygiene care
  • Homemaking
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Errands and Transportation
  • Light housekeeping
  • Medication reminders
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia care
  • Respite and Hospice care
  • Delivering peace of mind
  • And much more

Our sister company offers adult day care services and activities for seniors needing memory care. Just visit their website at Aspen Senior Day Center.

  1. We give family caregivers the break they need!

Family caregivers work tirelessly each and every day to give the best care possible to their loved one. We at Aspen Senior Care know that while being a caregiver is one of the most rewarding callings, it can also be tiring and difficult at times.  This is where our professional caregivers step in and provide respite care. Every hard-working caregiver deserves a break to accomplish their daily tasks, run errands, visit family and friends, or take a nap! We’re not taking over, we’re giving family caregivers a chance to take a much-needed break while their loved one follows their daily routine with our trusted professional caregivers.

  • I can’t be there in the afternoon so the services allow someone to be with my mom when I can’t be. 

Tricia L.

  • Having the services helps so that someone is with my mom while I’m at work, and the caregivers show compassion by the way that they talk to my mother. It shows a lot.

Kevin B.

  1. We take great care of our clients and our caregivers.

Gary Staples, Owner and Administrator, founded Aspen Senior Care over 13 years ago because he believed that seniors need the finest care during their final years of life. Our team here at Aspen Senior Care values that belief and works every day to ensure that belief stays true by having a great love and respect for the seniors we care for.  We value our clients and our caregivers and want to ensure that not only are their needs met to their full expectation, but that they feel heard, loved, and appreciated each and every day. 

  • Aspen Senior Care is right on the mark. They check back and their people are professional and kind. I think they’re perfect.

Josephine C.

  • The services from Aspen Senior Care made me feel like my father was being cared for by people that truly care about him.

Ron S.

  1. We have a reputation for delivering on our promises. 

Aspen Senior Care values transparency and ensuring we are living up to our promises! We love what we do, and we hire only those we trust to care for those you love! We at Aspen Senior Care have a promise to each and every client that we work with to always:

  • Be caregivers you can trust in every situation   
  • Give you the type of service that will make you want more
  • Be professional in all that we do and treat you with love and respect
  • Follow the care plan on every shift and document what is accomplished

You are very important to us and we always consider you our highest priority. So, each of us has made the above promise, and we have signed a poster-size version of it and displayed it in our offices as a reminder of our commitment to you. If for any reason you believe that we are not keeping our promise, please let us know immediately. After all, a promise is a promise.

  1. We provide award-winning home care with loving, professional caregivers you can trust!

Aspen Senior Care is an award-winning option for those searching for caregivers devoted to providing the highest level of care, respect, love, and professionalism. Every year for the past eight years, Aspen Senior Care has received Best of Home Care – Provider of Choice from Home Care PulseⓇ, an independent third party company which interviews our clients and their family members regarding their experience with our company. This award means that we have received the highest customer satisfaction scores from our clients compared to other in-home care providers.  

Aspen Senior Care was also voted #1 in the ‘Best of Homecare’ category for Daily Herald‘s – The Best of Utah Valley 2017 Readers Choice Awards. This will make 5 years in a row!

 

 

For more information, call our office at 801-224-5910

The topic of death and losing a loved one, for many, is a difficult topic to address and understand. Every individual will go through a different process and each caregiver will experience different emotions. There is no right or wrong way to feel when the one you love is reaching the final act of living.

“I truly believe it’s all about the living. We are born and we die and everything in between is living, clear until our last breath.” – Diana Cazier

For our in-service for the month of February, Aspen Senior Care had the wonderful opportunity to have Diana Cazier from Elevation Home Health and Hospice teach our team about the sensitive topic of recognizing the signs to look for when your loved one is in the final act of living. She referred to the booklet by Barbara Karnes, RN, titled, “The Final Act of Living: Reflections of a Long-Time Hospice Nurse”.  

The final act of living is a challenge.  This is a flexible guideline for what caregivers can watch for because no one knows the exact date that someone will pass.

Signs to look for in the Final Act of Living

One to three months before death:

  • Withdrawal from world and people
  • Decreased food intake
  • Increase in sleep
  • Going inside self
  • Less communication

One to two weeks before death:

Mental Changes

  • Disorientation
  • Agitation
  • Talking with the unseen
  • Confusion
  • Picking at clothes

Physical Changes

  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Pulse increase or decrease
  • Skin color changes; pale, bluish
  • Increased perspiration
  • Respiration irregularities
  • Congestion
  • Sleeping but responding
  • Complaints of body tired and heavy
  • Not eating, taking little fluids
  • Body temperature: hot, cold

 

 

Days or hours before death:

  • Intensification of one to two week’s signs
  • Surge of energy
  • Decrease in blood pressure
  • Eyes glassy, tearing, half open
  • Irregular breathing: stop, start
  • Restlessness or no activity
  • Purplish, blotchy knees, feet, hands
  • Pulse weak and hard to find
  • Decreased urine outlet
  • May wet or stool the bed
  • Acetone breath

Minutes before death:

  • “Fish out of water” breathing
  • Cannot be awakened

Through this presentation, we were taught how to be more aware and understanding of the different signs we may observe as one approaches death from disease or old age. We are so grateful to Diana for her presentation as it will continue to help us be more supportive and observant as professional in-home caregivers.

“At Aspen Senior Care, we like to align ourselves with the finest Home Health and Hospice agencies in Utah. We appreciate their willingness to present at our in-service training and reach us about important topics.  We are better because of it.”

Gary Staples, Owner and Administrator

 

If you have any questions, or if you need further support, contact us today at 801-224-5910. You can also refer to “The Final Act of Living: Reflections of a Long-Time Hospice Nurse” by Barbara Karnes, RN.

For more information and topics about in-home care, visit aspenseniorcare.com