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Support Groups

We have a variety of support groups for both the care partner and for the person living with dementia. Below you will find information on the different types of groups and how to connect to them.

· Living with dementia for those with the disease

· Care partner support group – Time to Talk

· Grief Support group

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About Alzheimer's and related dementias

Find out what is Alzheimer's disease and related dementias and the signs and symptoms of the different types of dementias.

What is Alzheimer's?

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Dr. Alois Alzheimer first identified the disease in 1906. He described the two hallmarks of the disease: "plaques", which are numerous tiny, dense deposits scattered throughout the brain that become toxic to brain cells at excessive levels, and "tangles", which interfere with vital processes, eventually choking off the living cells. When brain cells degenerate and die, the brain markedly shrinks in some regions.

The image below shows that a person with Alzheimer's disease has less brain tissue (right) than a person who does not have the disease (left). This shrinkage will continue over time, affecting how the brain functions.

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How is Alzheimer's disease diagnosed?

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There is no single clinical test that can be used to identify Alzheimer's disease. A comprehensive patient evaluation includes a complete health history, physical examination, neurological and mental status assessments, and other tests, including analysis of blood and urine, electrocardiogram, and an imaging exam, such as CT or MRI. While this type of evaluation may provide a diagnosis of possible or probable Alzheimer's disease with up to 90 percent accuracy, absolute confirmation requires examination of brain tissue at autopsy.

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Where do I start in getting a diagnosis?

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Your first step would be to discuss the issues that you may be experiencing with your general practitioner. He or she may do some preliminary testing and then refer you to a specialist. This fact sheet will help you to prepare for this appointment.

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I have been diagnosed with a dementia. Does this mean that my children will get it?

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At this time scientists have not clarified the cause of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Over the years scientists have focused on many possible causes including the environment, other diseases like viruses, and genetics. At this time they know that genes do play a role in this disease but fewer than 7% of the cases are associated with this genetic link. At this time there is also no way of testing for a genetic link. Prevention is the most important aspect of life, and we encourage everyone to adopt a healthy lifestyle or make changes to your lifestyle now in prevention of any disease that may affect you in the future and as you age.

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What is Vascular dementia?

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Previously known as multi-infarct or post-stroke dementia, vascular dementia is less common as a sole cause of dementia than Alzheimer’s, accounting for about 10 percent of dementia cases.
Symptoms:Impaired judgment or ability to make decisions, plan or organize is more likely to be the initial symptom, as opposed to the memory loss often associated with the initial symptoms of Alzheimer's. Occurs because of brain injuries such as microscopic bleeding and blood vessel blockage. The location, number and size of the brain injury determines how the individual's thinking and physical functioning are affected.

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What is Dementia with Lewy Bodies?

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People with dementia with Lewy Bodies often have memory loss and thinking problems common in Alzheimer's, but are more likely than people with Alzheimer's to have initial or early symptoms such as sleep disturbances, well-formed visual hallucinations, and muscle rigidity or other Parkinsonian movement features.

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What is Parkinson's disease?

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As Parkinson's disease progresses, it often results in a progressive dementia similar to dementia with Lewy bodies or Alzheimer's.
Symptoms: Problems with movement are common symptoms of the disease. If dementia develops, symptoms are often similar to dementia with Lewy bodies.

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What is Frontotemporal dementia?

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Frontotemporal dementia includes dementias such as a behavioral variant FTD (bvFTD), primary progressive aphasia, Pick's disease and progressive supranuclear palsy.
Symptoms: Typical symptoms include changes in personality, behavior, and difficulty with language. Nerve cells in the front and side regions of the brain are especially affected.

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What is Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (CJD)?

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CJD is the most common human form of a group of rare, fatal brain disorders affecting people and certain other mammals. Variant CJD (“mad cow disease”) occurs in cattle, and has been transmitted to people under certain circumstances.
Symptoms: Rapidly fatal disorder that impairs memory, coordination and causes behavior changes.


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What is Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH)?

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Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus is a rare neurological condition caused by the build up of excess amounts of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles or cavities of the brain. This causes the surrounding brain tissues to be damaged.
Symptoms include difficulty walking, memory loss and inability to control urination.
Brain changes can sometimes be corrected with surgical installation of a shunt in the brain to drain excess fluid.

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What is Huntington's disease?

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Huntington’s disease is a progressive brain disorder caused by a single defective gene on chromosome 4.
Symptoms: Include abnormal involuntary movements, a severe decline in thinking and reasoning skills, and irritability, depression and other mood changes.

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What is Wernick- Korsakoff's disease?

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This syndrome is a chronic memory disorder caused by severe deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B-1). The most common cause is alcohol misuse.
Symptoms: Memory problems may be strikingly severe while other thinking and social skills seem relatively unaffected.

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What is Posterior Cortical Atrophy disease?

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Posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) refers to gradual and progressive degeneration of the outer layer of the brain (the cortex) in the part of the brain located in the back of the head (posterior). It is not known whether PCA is a unique disease or a possible variant form of Alzheimer’s disease. In many people with PCA, the affected part of the brain shows amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, similar to the changes that occur in Alzheimer’s disease but in a different part of the brain. In other people with PCA, however, the brain changes resemble other diseases such as Lewy body dementia or a form of Creutzfeld-Jacob disease. Most cases of Alzheimer’s disease occur in people age 65 or older, whereas the onset of PCA commonly occurs between ages 50 and 65.

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What are the other types of dementias?

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The other types of dementias are neurological disease such as Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease, Vascular dementia, Posterior Cortical Atrophy, Wernicke-Korsakoff (alcohol related dementia), Mixed, Frontotemporal, Creutzfeld-Jakob ( CJD), Normal pressure hydrocephalus, dementia with Lewy Bodies. Each of these dementias have different symptoms and causes. Some of the treatments are similar but others need specific treatments. Formal diagnosis is important in order to best direct treatment.
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Vascular dementia
- Dementia with Lewy bodies
- Mixed dementia
- Parkinson’s disease
- Frontotemporal
- Creutzfeld-Jakob
- Huntington’s disease
- Wernick- Korsakoff
- Posterior Cortical Atrophy

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