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What is Palliative and End-of-Life Care

Dementia

Who is it for?

Dementia is term for a set of symptoms that are caused by disorders to the brain. A person with dementia has problems with memory and thinking that usually get worse over time and make the brain stop working the way it should.

What causes dementia?

Sometimes dementia can be reversed if the problem is diagnosed early (e.g., poor nutrition, being around poisons or heavy metals, depression, problems with metabolism or hormones). Some causes of dementia damage the brain and can’t be reversed, such as:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • stroke (vascular dementia)

What problems does dementia cause?

Symptoms from dementia can cause problems with:

  • talking
  • understanding and remembering
  • movement
  • depression and feeling anxious
  • sleeping
  • eating
  • living normally

How can palliative and end-of-life care help people with dementia?

Quality of life is a big concern for people with dementia, as they’re slowly less able to live on their own and take care of themselves. They may not eat much, and families may wonder if giving fluids or supplements would help. Palliative and end-of-life care can help the person and their family decide:

  • how to help the person have the best quality of life possible
  • what treatments to try, if any
  • what care options would be best for the person
  • how to start wth Advance Care Planning (e.g., health care decisions for when the person can no longer communicate their preferences)

Palliative and end-of-life care can help to:

  • answer questions
  • manage symptoms
  • give emotional support
  • find other supports if people need to transition (e.g., go from home to hospital) for care