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Welcome to Eastover Gardens Special Care

Understanding Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease


Resources help us understand and cope with the multitude of issues that arise after a diagnosis of dementia. We have attempted to provide some organization so that you can easily choose exactly what you want to read or view. We hope that these different kinds of materials can also help you keep up with the latest medical advances as scientists continue to work toward better treatments and an eventual cure.

We will be adding resources as we become aware of new material. Please feel free to mail us and let us know if you have found another helpful resource not on our list and we will add it.

What is dementia?

Dementia is not one disease. The term refers to a set of symptoms that are caused by changes in function of the brain. All of us experience lapses in memory as we age, but dementia interferes with a person’s ability to function well in daily activities. 

There are many disorders that can cause dementia, but few are reversible. The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research has published guidelines for evaluating someone for dementia. 

1) A person who has difficulties with one or more of the following activities should be evaluated for dementia: 

learning and retaining new information

handling complex tasks

ability to reason

spatial ability and orientation



These are described with examples in the following Special Report from Johns Hopkins Health Alert. 

2) The report also contains a comparison chart called Distinguishing Normal “Senior Moments” From More Worrisome Memory Lapses. It compares normal age-related forgetfulness with mild cognitive impairment and dementia. 

3) Described as well is the process of systematic elimination to distinguish between age-associated memory impairment and dementia. Doctors look for reversible conditions like depression first which can complicate diagnosis if it is present in addition to some form of dementia. After doctors eliminate treatable conditions that cause memory loss, doctors look for irreversible causes of memory loss. Well-known conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease, stroke and other vascular abnormalities, dementia with Lewy bodies, and Parkinson disease can be irreversible causes of memory loss. Less common disorders, such as frontotemporal dementia (e.g. Pick disease), and Huntington’s disease are also causes. Infectious diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and AIDS are other causes. The report describes the different kinds of dementia other than Alzheimer’s. 

4) Included as well are some simple low-tech screening tests for measuring cognitive impairment. 

Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder first described in 1906 by Dr. Alois Alzheimer. We know that is progressive and that it is the most common form of dementia (loss of memory and other intellectual abilities). It gets worse over time and causes problems with thinking and behavior that affect one suffering from this disease at every level: work, social life, and eventually even the ability to communicate at all. 

You can see in the illustration the overall shrinkage of brain tissue that occurs as the sulci (grooves in the brain) widen and the gyri (folds of the brain’s outer layer) shrink. We can see, also that the ventricles (inner chambers of the brain that contain cerebrospinal fluid) are enlarged in the brain of the person with Alzheimer’s. 

We will be adding resources as we become aware of new material. Please feel free to mail us and let us know if you have found another helpful resource not on our list and we will add it.

The Johns Hopkins Health Alerts web site (http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com) is a free service of University Health Publishing and Johns Hopkins Medicine. Two sections deal specifically with memory. 

The following Memory Special Report is derived from The Johns Hopkins White Paper 2007: Memory.

Memory Loss, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Glossary


All Johns Hopkins Memory Special Reports can be accessed from this page.


All Johns Hopkins Memory Reports can be accessed from this page.


Johns Hopkins Health Alerts Topics Page on Alzheimer’s is found at:


OmniMedicalSearch.com has descriptions of a number of different types of dementia and a lot of technical information about causes and stages in several sections.


Alzheimer’s Association (http://alz.org) 

Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Their stated mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. 

Several of the following links are to specific sections of the Alzheimer’s Association site. 

Related Dementias (http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_related_diseases.asp)

Dementia is the general term for loss of memory and mental abilities to the extent that one has trouble functioning in daily life. It is caused by physical changes in the brain. This web page has links to brief descriptions of dementia other than Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease, however, accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases. 

The Alzheimer’s Association Green-Field Library provides a wide variety of free information services to the public. (http://www.alz.org/library/index.asp) 

The U.S. National Institute of Health’s NIA (National Institute of Aging) has free publications on Altzheimer’s and many age-related issues, information about research and clinical trials. (http://www.nia.nih.gov/)

The Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center web site offers current, comprehensive Alzheimer’s disease (AD) information and resources from the National Institute on Aging (NIA). (http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers)

In their March, 2010 Bulletin, The AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) has an excellent article on treatment of Alzheimer’s touting cognitive stimulation and exercise as good treatments, more effective than many medications. (http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving/info-03-2010/nonmedical_therapies_for_alzheimer_s_disease_get_scientific_backing.1.html)