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What You Need to Know About Multi-Infarct Dementia

Many people mistakenly believe that Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are the same things. The truth is that Alzheimer’s is only one form of a broader category of cognitive decline known as dementia. In fact, there are many other types of dementia with vascular multi-infarct dementia being one. Each form has its own unique causes, characteristics and suggested treatments.

If you have a loved one who is displaying some of the signs and symptoms of dementia, it is essential to have them evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible so that they can receive a proper diagnosis and care plan. After a diagnosis, you can take the appropriate steps for supporting them going forward.

Understanding Multi-Infarct Dementia

“Multi-infarct dementia is one of the more common types of dementia today,” says  Stacey Houseknecht, NHA, CTRS, ADC, Administrator at Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr located in Bryn Mawr, PA. “As a result, we care for many loved ones living with this condition, and our memory care team is knowledgeable about the special needs of residents living with multi-infarct and other forms of dementia.”

As described by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), multi-infarct dementia (MID) is a form of vascular dementia and is the second most common cause of memory loss in older Americans. Multi-infarct dementia is caused by multiple strokes (disruption of blood flow to the brain). This disruption of blood flow leads to damaged brain tissue. Some of these strokes may occur without noticeable clinical symptoms. Doctors refer to these as ‘silent strokes.’

Multi-infarct dementia can be diagnosed by an MRI or CT of the brain, along with a neurological examination. Since there is no cure for multi-infarct dementia, the best medical advice is to try to eliminate it from occurring through prevention early in life. Authorities on multi-infarct dementia say that eating a healthy diet, exercising, not smoking, using alcohol in moderation and maintaining a healthy weight is the best prescription for success

Multi-Infarct Dementia: Common Symptoms

Sometimes confused with Alzheimer’s disease, the symptoms of multi-infarct dementia can include:

  • Confusion and problems with recent memory
  • Problems handling money
  • Difficulty following instructions
  • Wandering or getting lost in familiar surroundings
  • Laughing or crying inappropriately
  • Moving with rapid, shuffling steps
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

What You Can Do for Your Loved One With Multi-Infarct Dementia

Because no treatment is currently available that can reverse the damage that has already occurred to brain tissue, prevention of additional strokes should be a priority for caregivers.

According to Understanding-Dementia.com, there are several steps you can take to support your loved one with multi-infarct dementia and prepare for the future. For example:

  • Take precautions to prevent further strokes or mini strokes (TIAs). Your loved one's blood pressure should be monitored closely to measure the effectiveness of medications prescribed by their physician.
  • Make sure your loved one stays active by participating in activities that are mentally and socially stimulating. Also, encourage them to finish any needed physical therapy resulting from their stroke.
  • Protect them from financial abuse and reckless spending by monitoring their spending and bank accounts for unusual activity.
  • Since your loved one’s ability to function may decline rapidly due to another stroke or series of mini strokes, begin to prepare a plan for what you will do if their care needs increase suddenly.

Stacey adds, “We hope this information provides you with a better understanding of multi-infarct dementia and helps you to cope more effectively with your loved one’s symptoms and ongoing needs. If and when your loved one reaches the point where they require more care, supervision and support than can’t be provided appropriately at home, Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr offers exceptional dementia care to ensure that your loved one enjoys a full and enriching life.

“We lift the stresses and worries of being a caregiver from your shoulders, enabling you and your family to enjoy time with your loved one again.”

We encourage you to contact us with any questions or to schedule a tour. Also, we invite you to read our timely articles on dementia care topics posted on our website.

We Would Love to Hear from You!

If you have comments or questions about our blog on multi-infarct dementia, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences in our comments section.

Engaging Days. Meaningful Moments.

Loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or other memory impairments require specialized care and support. They also deserve a lifestyle rich in dignity and fulfillment. Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr provides residents with Engaging Days and Meaningful Moments that emphasize individual abilities, encourage socialization and promote the highest level of independence possible. We offer a complete continuum of leading-edge programs, services and amenities that address the total physical, emotional and social needs of residents in a caring setting that offers individual suites with large private baths and the comfort of home. Our memory care community touches hearts and changes lives.

Helping Families Be “Family” Again

Memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or another form of memory impairment doesn’t only affect the person who has it – it affects the entire family.

If you have a loved one with early- to mid-stage memory loss, you know how challenging it can be to provide the care that’s needed while trying to maintain balance in your life. As care needs increase, you may not be able to meet them physically or emotionally. It’s often difficult to be available to care for your loved one’s health and well-being around the clock.

If and when the time comes to seek additional help, place your trust in Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr. We lift the stresses and worries of being a caregiver from your shoulders, enabling you and your family to enjoy time with your loved one again.

For more information, please call Sharon at 484.380.5404 or contact us online.

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.