When accompanying a loved one on the journey of dementia, new and unfamiliar words are encountered almost daily. Understanding these words and phrases is essential to navigating the road ahead and ensuring that the best care possible is provided. 20 Dementia-Related Words You Should Know
The following list of 20 common dementia-related terms that caregivers and loved ones may find useful.
- Activities of daily living (often called ADLs):Personal care activities necessary for everyday living, such as eating, bathing, grooming, dressing and using the toilet.
- Alleles:One of the different forms of a gene that can exist at a single locus (spot on a chromosome) or site.
- Amyloid:A waxy translucent substance consisting of protein in combination with polysaccharides that is deposited in some animal organs and tissues under abnormal conditions (such as Alzheimer’s disease).
- Amyloid plaque:Buildup of amyloid protein and a primary hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Aphasia:An acquired inability to use certain aspects of language. It can be either an expressive or a receptive language disorder. “Aphasia” is a very broad term that is made more useful by descriptive qualifiers indicating the type of language impairment involved.
- Ataxia:Loss or failure of muscular coordination. Movement, especially gait, is clumsy and appears to be uncertain. Ataxic patients often sway while walking. Ataxia usually results from an inaccurate sense of position in the lower limbs. Difficulty with gait increases greatly when the patient is asked to walk with eyes closed.
- Autonomic nervous system:The part of the nervous system concerned with visceral and involuntary functions.
- Beta amyloid:An amyloid derived from a larger precursor protein; it is a component of the senile or neuritic plaques characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Bradykinesia:A motor disorder, frequently seen in Parkinson’s disease, which results from rigidity of muscles and which is manifested by slow finger movements and loss offine motor skills such as writing.
- Dopamine:A neurotransmitter that is important in reward-motivated behavior. It is the neurotransmitter deficient in those with Parkinson’s disease.
- Dysphagia:Difficulty in swallowing.
- Gamma secretase: An enzyme partly responsible for plaque buildup in the brain characteristic of Alzheimer’s.
- Hippocampus:An area buried deep in the forebrain that helps regulate emotion and memory.
- Mild cognitive impairment (MCI): A syndrome of memory impairment that does not significantly affect daily activities and is not accompanied by declines in overall cognitive function.
- Neuropsychiatrist:A specialist in the medicine concerned with both neurology and psychiatry.
- Neuropsychologist:A psychologist who has completed special training in the neurobiological causes of brain disorders, and who specializes in diagnosing and treating these illnesses using a predominantly medical (as opposed to psychoanalytical) approach.
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET):A highly specialized imaging technique using short-lived radioactive substances. This technique produces three-dimensional colored images.
- Synapse:The space between the terminal end of an axon and another cell body. Neurotransmitters are released in the synapse and carry signals from one nerve cell to another.
- Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs):Brief episodes of insufficient blood supply to selected portions of the brain.
- Ventricles:The spaces within the brain through which cerebrospinal fluid circulates.
For a comprehensive dementia care glossary, please visit Silverado.
20 Dementia-Related Words You Should Know
20 Dementia-Related Words You Should Know 20 Dementia-Related Words You Should Know 20 Dementia-Related Words You Should Know 20 Dementia-Related Words You Should Know 20 Dementia-Related Words You Should Know 20 Dementia-Related Words You Should Know 20 Dementia-Related Words You Should Know