Unit 13. Dementia Awareness

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Unit 13: Dementia Awareness 1.1 Explain what is meant by the term ‘dementia’ Dementia is not a natural part of the ageing process. It is a progressive illness with a physical cause. Symptoms are caused due to changes in the brain, the more the brain changes the more the severe the symptoms. Dementia is a set of symptoms that may include memory loss, difficulty thinking, problem solving or language. 1.2 Describe the key functions of the brain that are affected by dementia. Within the brain there are nerve cells that are known as neurons. These neurons communicate with each other and with other parts of the body. The brain sends signals to the body and to other parts of the brain in the form of electrical impulses aided by neurotransmitters (chemical messengers. The chemical and electrical signals are necessary in controlling bodily functions – for example language, decision-making, memory, personality, behaviour, sensing and interpreting our environment, and controlling muscle movements. If the neurons and synapsed of the brain become damaged by dementia they may have difficulty or be unable to carry the messages that tell the section of the brain what to do. Depending on the area of the brain affected, this can result in changes to the way the individual thinks, or may result in physical impairments, personally and behaviour changes or the inability to perform certain functions. Area of the brain | Key functions that could be affect by dementia | Frontal lobe | Movement, emotional behaviour, personality, interpretation and feeling. | Parietal lobe | Language, special awareness and recognition | Temporal lobe | Long – term memory, speech and hearing | Occipital lobe | Vision | Cerebellum | Balance, posture, muscle coordination (movement) | Hypothalamus | Regulates thirst, appetite, body temperature and also

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