Both of my parents' death certificates cited the cause of death as organic brain disease, which basically means dementia . They each had dementia, though each of them suffered from a significantly different type.
Dad's was dramatic. It was the result of surgery that was supposed to prevent the mental decline he would eventually suffer as a result of a World War II brain injury. Something went wrong in the surgery, and he came out of that surgery totally demented.
Mom's dementia was a more general type, which included memory loss and declining ability to make sense of things, but she did not have Alzheimer's disease or vascular dementia.
When I looked at the certificates, I was a bit surprised to find organic brain disease listed as cause of death. I was aware at the time that Alzheimer's was considered terminal, as the body slowly weakens and "forgets" how to function. But I didn't consider that my parents would die from their dementia - especially my mother.
I have spent eight years promoting the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of dementia and am certain that misinformation, denial, and untrained GP’s are still the biggest factors preventing families from getting elderly loved ones properly evaluated. The mild and intermittently odd behaviors that gradually increase year after year continue to get chalked up to advancing age and nothing more. And even when it becomes very apparent that something is wrong, families delay dealing with it, because it is scary for them to think about end of life issues. And then when something major happens and the GP finally sees the senior about it for ten minutes (“What day is it? What time is it? Who is the governor?”), that day the elder is often sharp as a tack.
I spent a year taking my elderly father to doctors who weren’t trained on how to uncover early-stage dementia, namely Alzheimer’s. Once I finally got to the right doctors (a team of ne...
Alternative Names Chronic brain syndrome; Lewy body dementia; DLB; Vascular dementia; Mild cognitive impairment; MCI Symptoms Dementia symptoms include difficulty with many areas of mental function, including: Language Memory Perception Emotional behavior or personality Cognitive skills (such as calculation, abstract thinking, or judgment) Dementia usually first appears as forgetfulness. Mild cognitive impairment is the stage between normal forgetfulness due to aging and the development of dementia. People with MCI have mild problems with thinking and memory that do not interfere with everyday activities. They are often aware of the forgetfulness. Not everyone with MCI develops dementia. Symptoms of MCI include: Forgetting recent events or conversations Difficulty performing more than one task at a time Difficulty solving problems Taking longer to perform more difficult mental activities The early symptoms of dementia can include: Language problems, such as trouble finding the name of familiar object...
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