What Are the Different Types of Dementia?

As we age, it’s normal to lose some neurons in the brain. People living with dementia, however, experience far greater loss. Many neurons stop working, lose connections with other brain cells, and eventually die. At first, symptoms can be mild, but they get worse over time.  Click below for an infographic:


What is happening in the brain?

Alzheimer’s disease: Abnormal deposits of proteins form amyloid plaques and tau tangles throughout the brain.  Frontotemporal dementia: Abnormal amounts or forms of tau and TDP-43 proteins accumulate inside neurons in the frontal and temporal lobes.  Lewy body dementia: Abnormal deposits of the alpha-synuclein protein, called “Lewy bodies,” affect the brain’s chemical messengers.  Vascular dementia: Conditions, such as blood clots, disrupt blood flow in the brain.  Note that these changes are just one piece of a complex puzzle that scientists are studying to understand the underlying causes of these forms of dementia and others.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease:


Wandering and getting lost

Repeating questions


Problems recognizing friends and family

Impulsive behavior


Cannot communicate

Symptoms of frontotemporal dementia

Frontal Lobe: Behavioral Symptoms

Difficulty resisting the impulse to use or touch objects

Compulsive eating

Temporal Lobe: Language and Emotional Disorders

Unable to understand the meaning of words or speak properly

Difficulty understanding facial expression and personal relationships

Symptoms of Lewy body dementia

Cognitive Decline

Inability to concentrate, pay attention, or stay alert

Disorganized or illogical ideas

Movement Problems

Muscle rigidity

Loss of coordination

Reduced facial expression

Sleep Disorders


Excessive daytime sleepiness

Visual Hallucinations

Symptoms of vascular dementia

Forgetting current or past events

Misplacing items

Trouble following instructions or learning new information

Hallucination or delusions

Poor judgment

Typical age of diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease: Mid-60s and above, with some cases in mid-30s to 60s

Typical age of diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia: Between 45 and 64

Typical age of diagnosis of Lewy body dementia: 50 or older

Typical age of diagnosis of vascular dementia: Over 65

Diagnosis for these four types of dementia

Symptoms can be similar among different types of dementia, and some people have more than one form of dementia, which can make an accurate diagnosis difficult. Symptoms can also vary from person to person. Doctors may ask for a medical history, complete a physical exam, and order neurological and laboratory tests to help diagnose dementia.

Treatment for these four types of dementia

There is currently no cure for these types of dementia, but some treatments are available. Speak with your doctor to find out what might work best for you.

Living with dementia can be challenging, but there are ways to manage it.

- National Institute on Aging, December 14, 2021

Conservatorship Issues & Questions

Brittany Spears has helped catapult the issue of safe and effective conservatorships into the spotlight.  Isn't it good to shine a light on potential issues negatively affecting people who have others responsible for their well-being?  Sure!  

Getting answers to your questions is the wonderful result of our freedom in this Country.  There seems to be an endless amount of media outlets providing whatever answers you want to hear.  Anyone may write a book and become self-published.  News agencies and media are corporations which must produce revenue to survive, and that revenue comes from your viewership and your support of their advertisers products.  Most recently, we have become aware that other countries, without the freedoms we have here, are manipulating our media to provide us with "fake news."   Today, we have to question our sources.  It's really irresponsible to just read a headline or email subject line, and pass on information to others that we have not verified ourselves.  

To help make research on Conservatorship law easier, The Professional Fiduciary Association of California decided to create a website at CaliforniaConservatorshipFacts.com.   A group of respected probate and conservatorship attorneys were interviewed to provide answers to common questions such as, "What is a Conservatorship,"  "Who can ask the Court for a Conservatorship," and, "Who can challenge a Conservatorship?"   Now, instead of feeling frustrated when hearing stories about abuse, we can get answers to help our communities and loved ones.  Here is an example of an important question the website helps answer:

Can what is depicted in, "I Care a Lot" happen in California?"

The State of California has, both through the Courts and County agencies, safeguards in place that would make what is depicted in the film "I Care a Lot" impossible. These protections would never allow an elderly person to be placed in a Conservatorship without notice, without the ability to object, or without any Court oversight of the Professional Conservator. Notice to the Proposed Conservatee is required, Court Investigators interview the Proposed Conservatee and the Proposed Conservatee is given the opportunity to have their own attorney.

Check out these other videos which answer questions about Professional Fiduciaries:

Heeding the Call

Mustang Susie

Haru & Miko

Sonoma County Adds a Telephone Line for Support Services

County of Sonoma Launches Warm Line for Emotional and Mental Health Support - COVID-19 Mental Health Warm Line

Call (707) 565-2652 any day of the week from 10 a.m to 7 p.m. to speak to a trained professional.

Beginning on Thursday April 23, 2020, a local warm line will be available to support community experiencing emotional stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The warm line is available to any County resident experiencing emotional side effects of the pandemic and/or the shelter in place order, or knows somebody who is.

“All of us in Sonoma County are dealing with unprecedented circumstances in our lives during this pandemic. Many of us need support in coping with these changes,” says Supervisor Susan Gorin, chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. “We want to make sure help is available to anyone who needs it. There is someone you can talk to right now.”

People can call at ( 707)-565-2652. This free and private warm line is available seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Service in Spanish is also available as well as telephone interpretation for other languages.

Local behavioral health professionals will answer calls seven days a week to talk with callers to provide support, guidance, education, and referrals.

Callers may also request that an outreach call be made to someone they are concerned about, which will help to reach people who are isolated, lonely and who may not reach out on their own.

“Being at home for an extended period of time can make some people feel anxious and alone,” said Bill Carter, Sonoma County Department of Health Services Behavioral Health Director. “The mental health warm line is here so a person can talk to someone about their concerns. Counselors are standing by to provide support to people during this tough time.”

Callers can speak to a trained professional who will listen and provide useful guidance to feel better. Callers will also receive information about resources and social services currently available in the County for an array of needs including emotional issues such as depression, grief, and anger; parenting support, substance use; shelter needs; and more.


How to Pay for a Stay in Long Term Care

Posted on January 4, 2017 at 5:50 PM

When this question comes up, it is usually because of some emergency.  Someone has either had an accident, or surgery, and needs to recover after leaving the hospital.  They usually need more care than staying at home can provide.  Or, they are in an advanced stage of a terminal disease, and need medical care before hospice is necessary.  How does one pay for this kind of 24-hour care?

Until the person is able to be taken care of at home, with less than round-the-clock care, they will need to stay in a skilled nursing facility, otherwise known as long term care.  The average private pay rate for these facilities in 2016 was $8,189 per month.  You can imagine the shear terror some family members face when asking, "How do we pay for that?"  

If the patient has long term care insurance, you can usually breathe a sigh of relief.  One of the great things about this kind of insurance is that it works hard to care for the person in their own home.  The insured will also not need to pay their premium for months spent in a long term care facility in most policies.  If  your loved one doesn't have this insurance, they can rely on Medicare to pay the first 22-100 days of long term care, but if insurance runs out, then what?  

One overlooked area is the Veteran's Administration (VA).  If there is any chance your loved one may have served the U.S. Military, or been the dependent of someone who did, it is well worth the investment of time and energy to apply for VA benefits.  Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits will help a veteran who needs care at home, is in long term care, or in Assisted Living.  Assisted Living is different than long term care, mainly in that it does not require 24-hour nursing care for it's residences.  Any long term care facility can take VA payments. They do not have to be VA certified.  The patient does not have to be in a VA hospital, or even seen by a VA doctor.  Aid and Attendance is for veterans who need help with activities of daily living (dressing, bathing, transferring, toileting, or eating).  Homebound is for veterans who are substantially confined to their homes because of a permanent disability.  These are benefits that reimburse the veteran, after he/she has paid for the care expenses.

Medi-Cal (Medicaid in the rest of the U.S.) might be able to help for those with little or no assets.  Some assets are exempt, like the home they live in, one vehicle, burial trusts, most household/personal possessions, and most special needs trusts.  Depending on the amount of income the patient has, they will pay the long term care facility a monthly Medi-Cal Share of Cost.  This is usually all of their countable income, minus $35 for a Maintenance Need.  

So breathe a sign of relief, and know there are some avenues to pay for a loved-one's long term care stay.  The word, "long" in "long term care" doesn't usually fit most patient's length of stay in one of these facilities.  If you need help finding payment resources, give Sunrise Fiduciary a call.  We are happy to help ease the stress these moments can bring.

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