Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

Cognitive decline generally affects people 65 years and older. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. More and more, people are consulting speech-language pathologists for help in maintaining their quality of life and communication abilities.

Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia affect communication abilities. Whether it is to define the strengths and challenges of the individual or to put in place an action plan to slow the impact of the disease, speech-language pathologists are the healthcare professional trained and able to help.

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What is dementia?

Dementia is a neurodegenerative condition. The most frequent type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Other dementia includes : Vascular dementia, Lewy Body Dementia, frontotemporal dementia including Primary Progressive Aphasia, Semantic Dementia and Mild Cognitive Impairment.

These illnesses are characterised by a progressive degradation of one or several cognitive abilities (language, abstract thinking, judgement, executive functions, etc.) Cognitive decline has notable impacts on daily communication abilities. Specifically, an impact can be seen in remembering conversations, losing the train of thought, following conversations, searching for words, and difficulty understanding the meaning of a message.

Primary progressive aphasia is a kind of dementia in which the language-based symptoms are the first to appear and they appear early in the illness. In Quebec City, the interdisciplinary memory clinic at the Enfant-Jésus hospital has a team that has developed an expertise in the evaluation and intervention for people with cognitive decline.

Progression of dementia
When to seek help?

If you see changes in your memory or in your behaviour, or if you observe these changes in a loved one, it is important that you speak with your doctor. If you live within the Quebec City region, you can call the Interdisciplinary Memory Clinic at Enfant-Jesus hospital for an evaluation.

Even small changes are important! Early intervention is key to documenting the evolution of symptoms and an accurate diagnosis. It is also key to maintaining independence and quality of life for as long as possible. As there is no cure for neurodegenerative diseases, close monitoring and early intervention is key to slowing the symptoms and maintaining the cognitive capacities. Speech-Language Pathologists play an important role in evaluating and following throughout the different stages of the illness.

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The Role of Speech-Language Pathologists

The speech-language pathologies can accompany the family at different stages of the illness. The intervention objectives vary depending on age, level of education, health and daily routine of the person before the illness.An individual’s learning potential is greater at the beginning of the ills. As such it is an important time to put in place strategies and tools to support the person as the illness progresses. For example, a technology-based tools, such as atablet or iPad can allow the individual to create a personalised communication tool to allow for greater expression of needs, desires and ideas. These kids of tools can also support the individual during memory loss.

Whether it is at the beginning of the illness, at the end or somewhere in between, the speech-language pathologist can help an individual and their loved ones to preserve habits that support communication abilities and stimulate cognitive abilities.

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Conclusion

Speech-Language pathologists have a knowledge base and the competencies to help an individual with dementia to maintain an active role is their life. Whether it is to help you better understand the impacts of cognitive decline on communication abilities or to build an action plan that supports your communication abilities, the speech-language pathologists at the Centre Mosaïque de Québec are here to help.

Make an appointment

The Centre Mosaïque is committed to providing prompt care to meet your needs. Feel free to contact us to find out how our speech therapists can help you.