Dementia is not uncommon in Parkinsons particularly if people have had the

Dementia is not uncommon in parkinsons particularly

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Dementia is not uncommon in Parkinson’s, particularly if people have had the condition for many years. 3 Many of the problems are similar to those described above for mild memory problems, but are of a more severe nature. 3 Symptoms may include slow thought processes and difficulty concentrating. People also experience forgetfulness and tend to find it increasingly difficult to make decisions, plan activities and solve problems. 44 This can make everyday activities such as dressing increasingly hard. 16
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People can also experience changes in their appetite, 3 energy levels and sleeping patterns, 3 so they may find themselves sleeping more during the day. They may become less engaged with what’s going on around them and have a lack of motivation or interest in things they previously enjoyed. 3,45 Anxiety, depression or irritability may become an issue. 44 Some people may also find it difficult to control their emotions and experience sudden outbursts of anger or distress, although these problems are not common. 44 Some people with Parkinson’s dementia develop visual hallucinations and delusions. 44 Dementia with Lewy bodies Dementia with Lewy bodies is diagnosed when someone has the symptoms of dementia first and then develops Parkinson’s-like symptoms. 3 In some cases of dementia with Lewy bodies, no motor symptoms may develop at all. Dementia with Lewy bodies affects a person’s memory, language, concentration and attention. It also affects their ability to recognise faces, carry out simple actions and their ability to reason. 46 People with this form of dementia commonly experience visual hallucinations, which can be quite vivid. This can happen early on in the condition. 46 They might also experience difficulty in judging distances and movements, which can cause them to fall over for no apparent reason. 46 The condition can also cause someone to experience episodes of confusion, which can change a lot from hour to hour or over weeks or months. 46 Some people may also develop Parkinson’s-type symptoms, such as slowness of movement, stiffness and tremor. 46 In some cases, a person’s heart rate and blood pressure can also be affected. 47 Actions to take If you notice any changes in your patient’s condition or have any concerns about their mental health, report it to their specialist or Parkinson’s nurse. Your patient may need adjustments to their medication regimen or a mental health referral. Although your patient is in an unfamiliar place, try to make them feel as comfortable as possible. Encourage someone with dementia to keep engaging and interacting with other people. Take care with communication. Use familiar phrases, speak clearly, listen well and give your patient time to respond to you. If a patient’s confusion is caused by an infection it should be treated with medication and fluids. Be aware that some patients with Parkinson’s will be taking medications for dementia. Many people won’t tell you when hallucinations or delusions happen, so ask your patient with Parkinson’s if you suspect they are experiencing these symptoms. Again, their specialist or
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  • Summer '07
  • Parkinson

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