Dementia is a condition that affects a person’s ability to remember things, and although it’s often associated with older people, it can actually affect people of a wide age range. Some people might still be working and relying on the income from their job as a means of paying their bills, buying groceries, and doing other everyday things. For anyone who is affected by dementia or have a loved one who is affected, understanding the condition and what can be done to get the financial help that the dementia sufferer needs should be a top priority.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is a group of conditions that can affect people of all ages, but it usually affects people in the later stages of their lives. There are several types of conditions under this umbrella term, including Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for about 60% to 80% of all dementia cases. Some other diseases that fall under this umbrella term include Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. It’s also possible to have dementia from a couple of different diseases.
Dementia is characterized by an inability to remember things, such as people and events. People with dementia can also suffer judgment issues. Since dementia is comprised of both social and cognitive issues, there isn’t a single diagnosis, and the reasons that a person has the symptoms of dementia can vary according to the underlying cause. Consequently, the reason for dementia can also cause different types of people to experience the symptoms.
This condition usually lasts for years or for the rest of the person’s life. The ability for a person to recover from the disease is dependent mostly on the reason that the person has dementia as some types of dementia are almost always degenerative.
On the other hand, people who begin to experience dementia symptoms because of a B-12 vitamin deficiency or because the thyroid isn’t producing hormones properly can see a reversal of the symptoms if they are treated early enough.
While doctors can often diagnose dementia with a high degree of certainty, it can be more difficult to determine the cause of the dementia in some patients because most types of dementia can look very similar.
Symptoms of Dementia
One of the most common symptoms of dementia is a loss of memory. People with this condition often forget simple things, but as the dementia progresses, people will likely forget more and more things. For instance, someone with severe dementia might forget where their house is located or even the name of one of their children. Other ways that the loss of memory can manifest include forgetting to pay bills or go to appointments, difficulties keeping track of important objects, and problems with planning everyday activities, such as meal preparation.
Depending on the reason for the dementia and the specific person, there might also be difficulties with behavior. For instance, some people will notice a change in behavior and personality. For instance, some people with dementia become more irritable, restless, and a lack in the ability to show restraint.
A certain percentage of people who have dementia might also experience psychological effects. For instance, some people have paranoia, hallucinations, and depression. Mood swings, anxiety, loneliness, and nervousness are also common symptoms of people with dementia.
Some people might also experience difficulties coordinating movements. For instance, walking steadily might become more challenging. In fact, some people might find it so difficult to walk and coordinate their movements that they become more prone to falling down. Some people might also experience difficulties with speech, often talking in a jumbled fashion.
Treatment for Dementia
Since dementia is the umbrella term for a whole range of disorders, the type of treatment will greatly depend on the the reason for the dementia. Depending on the cause of the dementia, the symptoms might even be reversible if it’s treated soon enough. Most types of treatments are broken into one of two categories: medications and therapies.
One type of treatment is cognitive-enhancing medications. This type of medicine can lower blood pressure, balance out moods, and improve overall mental function. There are several specific drugs, and each one might have different uses according to the reason for the dementia. For instance, memantine and Donepezil are often used to treat dementia caused by Alzheimers disease. Rivastigmine and Galantamine are also often used to treat dementia.
Rehabilitation is a type of therapy that’s used to treat dementia. For instance, one time that a person might have rehabilitation is when just got a concussion because of a blow to the head. In a case like this, rehabilitation might be used to restore the pathways in the brain. This type of therapy might also be used on someone who has dementia because of illness.
For people who still need to work, occupational therapy might be able to give them the skills to do their job again. This type of treatment focuses on finding ways for the person to do the job that they used to do.
Disability Benefits for Dementia
When someone has dementia, a family member will more than likely be helping them fill out the paperwork. When the family member is doing this, there are several things that they should be careful are taken care of properly.
One way to qualify for SSDI benefits is to meet the listing requirements for neurocognitive disorders. Under this listing, a person must meet the requirements in at least one if not more than one of the following areas:
- Difficulties with learning and memory
- Judgement and planning
- Language use
- Listening to others and following tasks
- Ability to judge social situations
People who meet one of the above requirements will receive further consideration to determine if it severely impairs their ability to do other tasks. The other functions that will be assessed include:
- Understanding information and applying it
- Keeping pace with the job requirements
- Adapting to hazards and having practical personal skills
- Interacting and socializing with other people
People who are helping the applicant need to be aware of how the physician is documenting their symptoms.
Another way that a person with dementia can qualify is by going through the residual functional capacity test. This test is aimed at determining if there is work that a person has done in the past that they can do again even with their limitations. It’s used if the person doesn’t meet the requirements the the listing. In this type of test, the doctor will need to put together a list of all of the impairments; then, someone for the SSA will go through all of the person’s previous positions, paying attention to the skill necessary to complete the job and assessing whether or not the applicant still has these necessary skills.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
- Appeal an existing denial of Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations due to Dementia, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.