The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. These changes are commonly small to start with, but for someone with dementia, they have become severe enough to affect daily life. A person who has dementia might also experience changes in their mood or behavior.
Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a number of strokes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but not the sole one. The specific symptoms that someone with dementia experiences will depend on the elements of the mind that are damaged and the disease that is causing dementia.
This factsheet explains what dementia is, including the causes and symptoms, and the way that it is diagnosed and treated. In addition, it looks at some of the different kinds of dementia.
Dementia is not a specific disorder. It’s an overall term that describes an extensive range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills serious enough to reduce an individual ‘s ability to perform everyday tasks.
Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases. Vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke, is the second most common dementia kind. But there are many other illnesses that can cause symptoms of dementia, including some which are reversible, such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies.
Dementia is usually erroneously referred to as “senility” or “senile dementia,” which reveals the formerly widespread but incorrect notion that serious mental decrease is a normal element of aging.
Vascular Dementia, Mixed Dementia, and Dementia with Lewy Bodies
Vascular dementia is a disorder due to reduced the flow of blood to the brain, often due to one or more strokes, resulting in symptoms ranging from cognitive deficits and mood disturbances to physical issues for example weakness or unsteady gait.
Those with vascular dementia frequently develop vascular lesions on the mind, which may be visible in neuroimaging studies.
The next most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia is usually misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s due to the similarity of symptoms. However, vascular dementia sufferers tend to have fewer problems with recall and more difficulties with speech fluency than patients with Alzheimer’s.
Assorted dementia is a term describing two or three different types of dementia, caused by multiple sources that coexist. The most common form of mixed dementia consists of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Symptoms of mixed dementia can vary but might include confusion, poor memory, trouble concentrating, speech and language issues, and behavioral and mental problems.
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is similar to and frequently co-occurs with Parkinson’s Disease. Lewy bodies are protein formations located in the brain that cause a wide variety of symptoms depending on which region of the mind is affected. There’s absolutely no treatment for DLB, but specific cognitive and physical symptoms could possibly be treated on an individual basis.
Dementia and Social Security Disability Benefits:
If you are experiencing dementia, the symptoms of your illness can make it impossible to hold down a job. This can wreak financial havoc on a family. Without a means of income and mounting medical bills, the situation can rapidly spiral out of control. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits may have the ability to aid.
There are two disability programs managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). These include Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Each program has its own qualifying criteria.
SSDI and SSI
In order to be approved for SSDI, you need to have earned enough work credits throughout your work history. Ordinarily, this means working five out of the past ten years. In the event that you’re too young to get a ten-year work history, it typically means working half of the years since your 18th birthday.
SSI is a needs-based program. You don’t need any work credits to qualify for this plan. You must, however, meet certain financial requirements. As of 2013, to qualify for SSI, your monthly income should never exceed $710 for an individual or $1,060 as a couple. Your household assets must also not exceed $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 as a couple.
In addition to meeting either one of these fiscal requirements, you must also have ample medical proof and documentation to prove that your dementia keeps you from working.
Dementia and also the Compassionate Allowances List
Mixed dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies are both found on Social Security’s Compassionate Allowances List, a collection of very serious medical conditions that qualify individuals for a speedy award of benefits. In the event you or a loved one suffers from one of these conditions, it’s crucial that the initial handicap application is completed fully and correctly to avoid unnecessary delays. If you have any questions, contact a handicap attorney that will help you.
Proving the Severity of Dementia Symptoms
Medical evidence is essential to establishing a disability case, and you also should review the applicant’s Social Security file to ensure it contains all pertinent documentation, including doctors’ clinic notes, hospital records, imaging results, and lab test results. For those with DLB, a brain scan can prove helpful in establishing the presence of special proteins, or Lewy bodies, in the brain. A neuropsychological evaluation can show a significant drop in IQ, behavioral or mood changes, memory mental disorders, or alternative markers of dementia.
Written statements from friends, relatives, and former colleagues who know the applicant well might also be helpful. Before attending a disability hearing in front of an administrative law judge, you need to evaluate whether symptoms of dementia might prevent the applicant from providing trustworthy testimony. Sometimes, it may be crucial for a family member to be present and testify at the hearing as well.
Finding an Attorney or Advocate Work With
Locating an advocate or solicitor willing to take your Social Security Disability case should not be a problem. Finding an advocate or attorney that’s actually qualified to deal with your disability claim can be a little trickier. When retaining the services of an attorney or advocate, you absolutely must ask the right questions. The last thing you want to do is hire an advocate or solicitor, simply to find out that the professional you have chosen isn’t all that you had hoped for. This is the reason you have to ask the right questions and gets as much info as possible prior to deciding which advocate or lawyer you may work with.
The initial thing you are required to ask when you meet with the attorney or advocate you are interested in working with is how accessible they will be. Many Social Security Disability attorneys and advocates handle a large volume of cases. On account of this, some of these professionals might not be able to give you the personal attention your case needs. You should discuss this matter together with the advocate or attorney you want to work with. Having your representative recognize your worries and needs right off the bat can prevent future problems and misunderstandings.
You ought to also ask about the experience of the advocate or lawyer you’re considering. Not all advocates are as experienced as they need to be and some attorneys don’t specialize in Social Security law. Ensure that your lawyer or advocate has the expertise needed to understand the complex Social Security Disability claim process and the laws which will affect your particular handicap case.
While it may not appear to be an important factor, personality should also play a function in your decision. You must have the ability to get along with the advocate or attorney you work with. This professional may be working with you for a year or more depending on how far you have to appeal your Social Security Disability case. If you are working with an attorney or advocate who is rude or abrasive or doesn’t respect your feelings, it is going to make things complicated.