Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dementia Condition 2 Due date 14 August 2009 Hannah Howley

Condition 2
Due date 14 August 2009
Hannah Howley

Description of the condition:

Dementia AKA Alzheimer’s Disease meaning ‘deprived of mind’ is a disease of the mind and can also be a result of brain damage or injury. It is a cognitive impairment and may be static. It is a progressive degenerative disorder of the brain causing such things like memory loss, personality changes and eventually, death.


Age and degeneration are the main causes of the disease. Most etiologies contribute to loss of intellectual function, memory impairment and loss of judgement. The precise cause of the disease is not fully understood.


Dementia is far more common than that of the geriatric population and can develop at any stage of adulthood. It generally just affects older people. Although it is possible to develop dementia early in life, the chances of doing so increase dramatically with age.
Less than 10 percent of cases of dementia are due to causes which may presently be reversed with treatment
One in 50 people between the ages of 65 and 70 have a form of dementia, compared to one in five people over the age of 80.
Dementia affects approximately 5% of the US population or about 4.5million people. It affects half of all people living in rest homes. The incidence of Dementia increases with age.

Signs and symptoms:

Symptoms of dementia include loss of memory, confusion and problems with speech and understanding. Most etiologies contribute to loss of intellectual function, memory impairment and loss of judgement.

Symptoms of early dementia:

- Word finding difficulty
- Forgetting names, appointments and losing thing
- Difficulty performing familiar tasks i.e. driving, cooking, household chores
- Uncharacteristic behaviour
- Mood swings and Poor judgement

Intermediate Dementia

- Worsening of symptoms seen in early dementia
- Unable to carry out tasks i.e. washing, getting dressed, using the toilet
- Disrupted sleep
- Unable to learn new things
- Confusion
- Hallucinations
- Falling over
- Poor concentration and abnormal moods
Severe Dementia

- Worsening of symptoms seen in early and intermediate dementia
- Complete dependence on others for daily living
- Maybe unable to walk or move around
- Impairment of other movements i.e. swallowing
- Complete loss of long and short term memory
- Complications with nutrition, bladder control and infections

Indications for massage therapy:

According to MedicalNewsToday, Massage could offer a drug-free way to treat agitation and depression among dementia patients, but there are still too few studies about the practice to know for sure, according to a review of recent research.

In two studies, hand massage and gentle touching during conversation helped ease agitation and restore appetite in dementia patients over short periods of about an hour.
It can also counteract anxiety and depression which are also factors involved with dementia.
Massage also provokes a sense of relaxation and safety with soft and slow massage techniques i.e. relaxation massage with effleurage and petrissage strokes would be effective in engaging the nervous system and relaxing it.
Dementia clients respond well to touch. Massage does not increase or decrease the process of the disease but does improve the quality of life for clients to the extent that they become noticeably less disruptive.

Contraindications for massage therapy:

It is very important to keep in mind that most of these clients will be elderly and will generally have other on-going problems that may or may not contraindicate various kinds of body work. Also, the massage therapist must remember that communication will be quite difficult and it becomes the therapist’s responsibility to communicate effective non verbal signals about the bodywork to make sure that the client understands. Therapists must always be sensitive to the clients emotional and mental state/


Dementia, Retrieved on 31st July 2009 from

Frtiz S (2004). Mosby’s Fundamentals of Therapeutic massage, 3rd edition. Mosby, Missouri

Werner, R. (2005). A Massage Therapists Guide to Pathology (3rd ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Facts about Dementia and what to do, Retrieved on 31st July 2009 from;col1 peer reviewed.

Massage and Dementia, Retrieved on 31st July 2009 from

Dementia Symptoms, retrieved on 1st August 2009 from

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