Website Glossary

Acute Care

Care that takes place within a medical setting, i.e. a hospital, intensive care unit or emergency department.

Alzheimer's Disease

A disability characterized by impaired memory & ability to learn new material, accompanied by a high level of stress and an acute sensitivity to the social & built environment.


The center of thought & emotion, responsible for the coordination & control of bodily activities & the interpretation of information from the senses. The brain has a number of lobes. Frontal, Temporal, Parietal, Orbito-Basal, related to different behavioral functions.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

A progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma (often athletes), including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head that do not cause symptoms.


Experts in the field say dementia is more accurately defined as fatal brain failure: a terminal disease, like cancer, that physically kills patients, not simply a mental ailment that accompanies older age.


A sudden onset of severe confusion and changes in brain function, sometimes characterized by hallucinations and hyperactivity.


An abnormal emotional state characterized by feelings of worthlessness, sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness. When the primary diagnosis of the mental disorder is depression, it is potentially reversible, but it may be extremely difficult to treat. It may be so severe that physical symptoms and symptoms of mental impairment (including short-term and long-term memory loss, confusion, delusions, and hallucinations) occur. When the symptoms of dementia appear but do not have an organic base, it is a pseudo-dementia.


The identification of the nature of an illness or other problem by examination of the symptoms.


Language disorder marked by deficiency in the generation of speech, and sometimes also in its comprehension, due to brain disease or damage.

Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)

An umbrella term for a diverse group of uncommon disorders that primarily affect the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain — the areas generally associated with personality, behavior and language.

Huntington’s Disease

A fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It deteriorates a person's physical and mental abilities usually during their prime working years and has no cure.

Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy body dementia, also known as dementia with Lewy bodies, is the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer's disease dementia. Protein deposits, called Lewy bodies, develop in nerve cells in the brain regions involved in thinking, memory and movement (motor control).

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that causes the ventricles in the brain to become enlarged, sometimes with little or no increase in intracranial pressure (ICP). In most cases of NPH, the cause of blockage to the CSF absorptive pathways is unclear.

Respite or Respite Care

Planned or emergency temporary care provided to caregivers of a child or adult. Respite also provides a positive experience for the person receiving care. The term "short break" is used in some countries to describe respite care.

The Global Deterioration Scale for Assessment of Primary Degenerative Dementia

The Global Deterioration Scale (GDS), developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg, provides caregivers an overview of the stages of cognitive function for those suffering from a primary degenerative dementia such as Alzheimer's disease. It is broken down into 7 different stages. Stages 1-3 are the pre-dementia stages. Stages 4-7 are the dementia stages. Beginning in stage 5, an individual can no longer survive without assistance.


The branch of medicine concerned with the treatment of disease and the action of remedial agents. Examples of therpeutics in relationship to dementia treatments are the use of biogenetics or stem cells.

Vascular Dementia

A general term describing problems with reasoning, planning, judgment, memory and other thought processes caused by brain damage from impaired blood flow to your brain. You can develop vascular dementia after a stroke blocks an artery in your brain, but strokes don't always cause vascular dementia.

Dementia Stages

Stage 1:
No Cognitive Decline

In this stage, the person functions normally, has no memory loss, and is mentally healthy. People with NO dementia would be considered to be in Stage 1.

Stage 2:
Very Mild Cognitive Decline

This stage is used to describe normal forgetfulness associated with aging. For example, forgetting names and where familiar objects were left. Symptoms of dementia are not evident to the individual’s loved ones or their physician.

Stage 3:
Mild Cognitive Decline

This stage includes increased forgetfulness, slight difficulty concentrating, and decreased work performance. People may get lost more frequently or have difficulty finding the right words. At this stage, a person’s loved ones will begin to notice a cognitive decline.

Stage 4:
Moderate Cognitive Decline

This stage includes difficulty concentrating, decreased memory of recent events, and difficulties managing finances or traveling alone to new locations. People have trouble completing complex tasks efficiently or accurately and may be in denial about their symptoms. They may also start withdrawing from family or friends because socialization becomes difficult. At this stage, a physician can detect clear cognitive problems during a patient interview and exam.

Stage 5:
Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline

People in this stage have major memory deficiencies and need some assistance to complete their daily living activities (dressing, bathing, preparing meals, etc.). Memory loss is more prominent and may include major relevant aspects of current lives. For example, people may not remember their address or phone number and may not know the time or day or where they are.

Stage 6:
Severe Cognitive Decline (Middle Dementia)

People in Stage 6 require extensive assistance to carry out their Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). They start to forget names of close family members and have little memory of recent events. Many people can remember only some details of earlier life. Individuals also have difficulty counting down from 10 and finishing tasks. Incontinence (loss of bladder or bowel control) is a problem in this stage. Ability to speak declines. Personality / emotional changes, such as delusions (believing something to be true that is not), compulsions (repeating a simple behavior, such as cleaning), or anxiety and agitation may occur.

Stage 7:
Very Severe Cognitive Decline (Late Dementia)

People in this stage have essentially no ability to speak or communicate. They require assistance with most activities (e.g., using the toilet, eating). They often lose psychomotor skills. For example, the ability to walk.