Dementia Types

Parkinson's Disease Dementia

Overview

Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) is an impairment in thinking and reasoning that affects 50-80% of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Patients with Parkinson’s disease dementia often experience the same symptoms as Alzheimer’s patients, in addition to sleep disturbances, visual hallucinations, muscle rigidity or other Parkinsonism physical and cognitive impairments.

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Common Warning Signs

  • Problems with memory
  • Perception
  • Thinking and behavior
  • Trouble speaking, confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Changes in mood and personality
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Tremors

What Is Parkinson's Disease Dementia?

The brain changes caused by Parkinson’s disease begin in a part of the brain that controls movement. As Parkinson’s disease progresses, it often begins to cause cognitive impairments due to protein deposits found in the brainstem that deplete dopamine levels. There is no cure or treatment to slow or stop brain deterioration from Parkinson’s disease dementia. It’s important to work closely with a physician to determine which medications work best for you or your loved ones.

Diagnosing Parkinson’s disease dementia is based on a physician’s judgment after a complete medical assessment including a thorough medical history, mental status testing and physical and neurological exams. A PDD diagnosis may be made when a person is originally diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease based on movement symptoms and dementia symptoms do not appear until a year or more later.

What Should I Expect As A Caregiver?

For caregivers, understanding common behavior changes of persons living with Parkinson’s disease dementia is important. A person with PDD may need help with planning their day and remembering appointments or even simple tasks like dressing and bathing. As the disease progresses, a person with PDD may become frustrated, anxious or embarrassed by their cognitive decline. A caregiver may need to provide emotional and physical support, as well as encouragement. Individuals with Parkinson’s disease dementia may become restless, experience rapid mood swings, or wander. Knowing how to balance a person’s safety and independence becomes more difficult as the disease progresses.

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Risk Factors

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Hallucinations without a previous dementia diagnosis
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Parkinson’s symptoms or diagnosis
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How Can We Help?

Meeting the demands of a loved one with Parkinson's disease can be difficult and seem impossible. Memory care is all we do. We offer the following services dedicated to those living with memory impairments.

  • Support, education and information for caregivers and family members.
  • An environment that helps to keep residents safe and as independent as possible.
  • Staff specially trained on caring for residents living with memory loss.
  • Structured, engaging programs, 10 hours a day.
  • Programs personalized for all levels of dementia and focused on what the resident can do, capitalizing on lifelong experiences and familiar routines.

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