‘Aging Well’ Discusses Dementia Symptoms and Programs

Dementia symptoms and programs that can help were recently featured on Aging Well, a monthly public-access production of Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES).

The discussion was led by SCES Senior Care Advisor Anne Keefe, who noted there are several common forms of dementia, each with unique symptoms.  She also said that dementia is often mistaken for a normal part of aging.

“That’s one of the most common myths of dementias, particularly Alzheimer’s,” said Keefe. “It comes on so slowly… that often it’s not recognized until people are well into the disease process, to the point where somebody could be repeating stories, asking the same question over and over, or having confusion about time in place.”

“Another area it really shows up is you have somebody who has always loved to cook, and they stop cooking because they can’t remember the steps of a given recipe, or people having trouble managing monthly bills,” added Keefe. “Those are two examples over and beyond just simply forgetting things.”

The discussion also include programs at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) that can help, such as the Caregiver Support Program and the Music and Memory program.

Aging Well is a monthly production of SCES, which is produced in partnership with Somerville Cable Access Television (SCAT).

Aging Well airs on SCATV Channel 3 at the following times:

Sundays at 10am

Mondays at 7:30am

Tuesdays at 1pm.

Episodes are also available through the SCES Facebook page and the SCES Youtube channel.


Various Forms of Dementia 

Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Short term memory deficits are prominent
  • Preserved social skills
  • Problems with complicated daily activities
  • May have symptoms of apathy, irritability or depression

Dementia with Lewy Bodies

  • Visual hallucinations in mild/early stage
  • Present of parkinsonian features, such as bradykinesia, shuffling gait
  • Fluctuations in cognitive impairment
  • Early on memory deficits are less prominent

Vascular Dementia 

  • Stepwise decline in cognitive and physical functioning over time
  • Radiographic evidence of cerebrovascular disease
  • Language deficits and executive dysfunction sometimes more prominent than short-term memory deficits

Frontotemporal Dementia

  • Younger onset age than Alzheimer’s (50 to 60)
  • Behavioral variant: interpersonal skills decline, including increased disinhibition, hyperorality, compulsive behavior, emotional blunting
  • Language variant: progressive non-fluent aphasia (effortful, non-fluent speech), impaired word comprehension (empty circumlocutory speech)