This chapter provides an overview of delirium and dementia, including primary dementias, secondary dementias, and reversible dementias. The distinction between mild and major neurocognitive disorders is described. An in-depth description of Alzheimer’s disease, including etiology, treatment, and general guidelines for care, is included. Other dementias including Huntington’s disease, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, Lewy body disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and vascular dementia are also briefly covered. Secondary dementias (e.g., dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease) and reversible dementias (e.g., normal pressure hydrocephalus) conclude the chapter.
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The meaning and description of the experience of death and dying and therapeutic approaches for individuals and significant others are discussed. Loss, grief, and mourning process in older adults are considered including disenfranchised grief, complicated grief, and therapeutic approaches. Hospice and palliative care options available are described. Suicide, rational suicide, and physician-assisted suicide/dying are outlined. Also discussed are advance directives including living wills, medical power of attorney, do-not-resuscitate orders, and ethical wills.
COVID-19and its impact on the dying, grieving, and funeral practices of the older age group are presented.