Category: News

Understanding Vascular Dementia: Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors

After Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia is the second most frequently experienced type of dementia. Vascular dementia is the consequence of damaged blood vessels in the brain. This causes a decrease in blood flow to brain tissue, resulting in inadequate oxygen and nutrition supply, which damages brain tissue. Inadequate blood flow harms and can ultimately kill cells in any part of the body, but the risk to the brain is more significant. It differs from other forms of dementia as declines are usually sudden, occurring in a step-like progression versus gradually.

At NursePartners, we understand that dementia can pose many changes that require expertise, personalized care, and compassion. We specialize in helping care for people affected by dementia and offer an option for providing support to individuals as they age in place.

In this article, we’ll cover what you need to know about vascular dementia and what is believed to cause the condition.

What is Vascular Dementia?

Vascular dementia is characterized by alterations in cognitive abilities, which can manifest suddenly after a stroke that obstructs the primary blood vessels in the brain. 

Cognitive challenges may also emerge as mild changes that progressively worsen due to multiple minor strokes or another condition affecting smaller blood vessels, resulting in extensive damage. An increasing number of specialists favor the term “vascular cognitive impairment” (VCI) over “vascular dementia” as it more accurately represents the spectrum of vascular cognitive changes, which can range from mild to severe.

Changes associated with vascular dementia often co-occur with those related to other forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. Some studies have discovered that vascular alterations and other brain anomalies may interact to heighten the probability of a dementia diagnosis.

Approximately 5% to 10% of individuals with dementia suffer from vascular dementia exclusively. However, it is more prevalent as a component of mixed dementia. Numerous experts contend that vascular dementia is still underdiagnosed (like Alzheimer’s disease) even though it is acknowledged as a common condition.

What are the Symptoms of Vascular Dementia?

The consequences of vascular issues on cognitive abilities can differ significantly, contingent on the extent of blood vessel damage and the brain region affected. Memory loss may or may not be a prominent symptom, depending on which specific brain areas experience reduced blood flow. 

Vascular damage originating in brain regions responsible for information storage and retrieval might result in memory loss closely resembling Alzheimer’s disease. Symptoms might be most noticeable when they occur shortly after a significant stroke.

Sudden changes in cognition and perception following a stroke may include:

  • Disorientation
  • Challenges in maintaining focus and concentration
  • Decreased capacity to structure thoughts or actions
  • Deterioration in the ability to assess a situation, devise an efficient strategy, and communicate with others
  • Confusion
  • Issues with organization
  • Struggles in determining the next course of action
  • Memory issues
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Unstable walking patterns
  • Sudden or recurrent need to urinate or incapacity to control urination
  • Apathy or depression

If cognitive and reasoning changes appear closely associated with a stroke, the condition is occasionally called post-stroke dementia.

At times, a distinct pattern of vascular dementia symptoms follows a series of strokes or mini-strokes. Cognitive changes are observed in noticeable downward steps from one’s prior functional level, contrasting with the steady, gradual decline typical of Alzheimer’s disease dementia.

However, vascular dementia can also manifest progressively, similar to Alzheimer’s disease dementia. Moreover, vascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease often coexist. Research indicates that numerous individuals with dementia and signs of brain vascular disease also have Alzheimer’s disease.

Types of Vascular Dementia

There are several types of vascular dementia, all caused by blood supply issues to specific parts of the brain:

Subcortical Vascular Dementia 

This occurs when tiny blood vessels deep within the brain develop thick walls, stiffening and becoming twisted, thereby preventing a regular blood flow. Protein build-up in small blood vessels occurs over time. 

As the patient ages, cerebral amyloid angiopathy, or weakening of the blood vessels can also result. When the vessels cease to operate, the brain cells they supply are starved of nutrients and oxygen and will die. High blood pressure, diabetes, infection, autoimmune disorders, and abnormal aging of blood vessels – known as atherosclerosis – are all factors that can cause the narrowing of the blood vessels.

Stroke-related Dementia or Infarction

An artery in the brain is blocked by a clot that could have formed either in the brain or the heart and may have moved to the brain. A brain hemorrhage may also see high blood pressure weakening a blood vessel and causing it to rupture. There will then be bleeding into the brain, which can cause damage to the brain. This is not as likely as a clot occurring. 

Since health issues that caused the initial stroke may still exist, a further clot could result in more strokes which progressively diminish overall brain function. After a major stroke, symptoms are usually the most apparent. A step downward in thought processes may become noticeable compared to previous levels.

Multi-infarct Dementia 

This occurs after small blockages repeatedly affect blood flow to a specific brain region. As more strokes take place over time, whether apparent or silent, vascular dementia increases. The individual effects of blockages may not be obvious, but in time, the symptoms of impairment become increasingly noticeable.

Mixed Dementia 

This condition occurs when symptoms of both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s exist. Of those diagnosed with dementia, around 5% to 10% have vascular dementia alone, but generally, it presents with mixed dementia. Experts see vascular dementia as a common problem but say it often goes undiagnosed in the same way Alzheimer’s disease does.

Common Risk Factors for Vascular Dementia 


Vascular dementia is not common before age 65. This risk increases as patients approach their 90s.

Previous cardiac events

Brain damage associated with a stroke, mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack), or a heart attack can increase the risk of developing dementia.


High levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglyceride are associated with a heightened risk of developing vascular dementia. Deposits of cholesterol and plaques building up in the arteries and narrow blood vessels reduce nutrient-rich blood to the brain.

High blood pressure

Extra strain on blood vessels everywhere in the body increases the risk of vascular problems in the brain.

Homocysteine in the blood

High levels can damage blood vessels and cause blood clots and heart disease.


High glucose levels tend to destroy blood vessels.


This habit damages the blood vessels, increasing the risk of atherosclerosis.

Obesity and lack of physical activity

Being overweight is a commonly recognized risk factor for vascular diseases.

Atrial fibrillation (AF)

The condition known as atrial fibrillation is when the heart’s upper chambers beat irregularly and are rapidly out of sync with its lower chambersion. AF can cause blood clots to form in the heart that can travel to the blood vessels in the brain.

Family history of dementia and/or CADASIL

Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy (CADASIL) with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy is a genetic disorder that often leads to vascular dementia. A parent with the gene for CADASIL can pass it on to a child – the disorder affects blood vessels in the brain’s white matter. Symptoms include depression, migraine headaches, seizures, and severe depression. This tends to begin when the patient is in their 30s.

Differentiating Vascular Dementia from Other Types of Dementia

Vascular dementia and other similar conditions are difficult to distinguish since they share common signs and symptoms. Depending on the individual, the location, and the size of the area impacted by blood flow impairment, vascular dementia symptoms vary. If vascular changes occur in brain regions where information is stored and retrieved, memory loss may present like that associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

If only a tiny zone in a part of the brain that controls memory is affected, the patient might seem forgetful, but this does not necessarily alter their ability to carry out normal functions, whereas if a larger area is affected, they might have difficulty thinking and solving problems. Memory problems might actually be severe enough to reduce their ability to do tasks they previously had no problem completing.

In the case of vascular dementia, problem-solving and the speed at which thinking occurs are usually most affected, whereas memory loss tends to be more commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

How is Vascular Dementia Diagnosed? 

Since vascular dementia does often go unrecognized, cognitive screening by a qualified professional is advised for high-risk candidates, including patients who have suffered a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) or whose heart or blood vessels may be at risk. Depression is also a factor that those with vascular disease should be screened for since it is possible that this, too, may contribute to cognitive impairment.

Early diagnosis is beneficial since treatment can help prevent further deterioration. It is essential that those who commonly experience issues with their thinking and/or memory chat with their doctor, who will usually refer their patients to a specialist for testing.

Neurocognitive testing is used to evaluate skills like problem-solving, reasoning, memory, and judgment. This requires hours of written or computerized tests and can help distinguish vascular dementia from other types of dementia and Alzheimer’s. A Neuropsychiatric evaluation may also be done to eliminate a psychiatric condition that resembles dementia.

Besides a physical exam and medical history, the doctor may decide to run the following imaging tests:

  • Computed Tomography (CT) 

This technology uses X-rays and a computer to make detailed axial images or “slices” of the brain.

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) 

This brain imaging machine uses large magnets, radio frequencies, and computer technology to create detailed images of the brain, and can indicate whether there has been a recent stroke or other vascular brain alterations, the severity of which might be in keeping with impairments noted during the above mentioned neurocognitive testing. A CT or MRI could reveal evidence of a recent stroke or other brain abnormalities and can also assist in detecting a build-up of fluid in the brain or tumor.

  • FDG-PET scan

This brain scan lights up regions of the brain using a tracer.

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) 

Electrical activity is measured in the brain using an EEG.

Reducing the Risk of Vascular Dementia

Improving heart health can help limit the risk of vascular dementia. 

This can be achieved by:

  • Giving up smoking 
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Doing regular exercise
  • Ensuring blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar are kept within recommended limits
  • Eating a healthy, low-fat diet 
  • Taking prescribed cholesterol-lowering medications (when necessary) to reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks that could lead to vascular dementia. (The aim is to limit plaque deposits inside the brain’s arteries.)

How is Vascular Dementia Treated?

Working with a doctor to tailor a treatment plan to the patient’s circumstances is ideal. Evidence points to the fact that lifestyle changes, like a healthy diet and exercise and giving up smoking and alcohol, all improve outcomes and can also aid in postponing or preventing further health issues.

Depending on the effects of the stroke, rehabilitation could aid in improving compromised speech, movement, strength, and general living skills for a quicker return to independence. Mobility training, range of motion therapy, motor skill exercises, as well as therapy for communication and cognitive disorders might be employed, among other forms of treatment, to assist the patient. 

Drugs have not been approved by The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of the symptoms of vascular dementia, but clinical trials indicate that people with vascular dementia might gain some benefit from drugs approved for the treatment of Alzheimer’s symptoms

Treatment works mainly on underlying diseases such as hyperlipidemia, hypertension, blood clotting problems, or diabetes mellitus to prevent worsening symptoms of vascular dementia. Medicines, such as cholinesterase inhibitors, are also used to treat dementia symptoms, and antidepressants can assist with depression.

Blood flow to the brain can be improved by surgeries, such as stents, angioplasty, and carotid endarterectomy.

Living with Vascular Dementia

NursePartners’ approach to caring for dementia patients is rooted in Teepa Snow’s GEMS™: Brain Change Model, which categorizes dementia stages by likening them to the unique characteristics of six different gemstones. This approach helps understand and meet the needs of individuals affected by dementia.

Like gemstones, people benefit from different care and settings to shine at full capacity, so rather than focusing on what has been lost, individuals are looked at as precious, unique, and capable. Knowing what has changed and what is still possible, communication and care for the individual become more effective.

The GEMS™ Brain Change Model Classification System Categorizes Stages of Dementia as follows:


In response to the aging process, Sapphires may feel “blue” despite no significant changes in cognition or signs of dementia.


This initial stage of dementia occurs with the first signs that something is “off.” Diamonds are “clear and sharp,” they have established routines and enjoy feeling competent, valued, and in control. This stage sees them being nudged from their comfort zone. Diamonds can function as they have in the past, but they tend to become territorial, and boundaries are blurred.


Green emeralds are “on the go.” They may be flawed and a little vague, getting lost in their past. Communication and comprehension can be issues, with emeralds often asking who, what, where, and when questions. These gems are most comfortable when doing familiar tasks. They like to engage and feel helpful so that they have a purpose.


Ambers are directed towards sensations and their wants and needs. They tend to live in moments and like to touch, gather and manipulate objects. This exploratory urge can land them in trouble as they have little safety awareness. They have trouble understanding and struggle to express their needs, so activities should be familiar and preferably stimulate the senses.


Rubies experience changes in depth perception, and their fine motor skills are almost non-existent. Sensory changes mean that assistance is often necessary when it comes to using utensils, brushing hair, dressing, and moving about. Hand-under-hand assistance helps rubies feel the “safety and security” they crave.


Layered and hidden in an outwardly unattractive shell, pearls tend towards introversion. There is often an inability to move or respond. With a reduced awareness of the world, pearls enjoy pleasant sounds and voices they are familiar with, and they cling to moments of connection.

A fundamental respect for these stages allows the care partner to better understand their client’s needs. Once an in-home assessment has been carried out, NursePartners creates a care plan to help the individual live in the comfort of their home. Activity lists are devised, and communication techniques are developed to aid patients in the various stages.

Professional Help for Late-Stage Dementia Available in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Chester, and Delaware Counties

At NursePartners, we train all CarePartners in the GEMTM methodology engaging with clients, focusing on what they still can do, and letting go of what they cannot. 

Even at the most advanced stage of dementia, you can find new ways to make the person feel valued and with purpose.

To learn more about how we can engage your loved one with Vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or another form of dementia, call us at 610-323-9800.

How to Treat a Relative that’s Forgetting About their Loved Ones

Forgetting About their Loved Ones

When someone you love is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, it can be devastating. It is hard to deal with the gradual erosion of their short-term and then long-term memories. When our loved ones no longer recognize us, it can be incredibly heartbreaking. 

They suddenly don’t know your name, face and how you are related.  They may even confuse their children to be their parents. You may remember the lessons your parents taught, the love they shared with your spouse, or the fun times you had together, but they simply don’t recognize you anymore. It’s as if you’ve vanished from their consciousness. Dementia has robbed them of the opportunity to know their grandkids and great-grandkids, to grow old with the love of their life, and to spend quality time with you and other loved ones.

How do you cope when your parent forgets who you are? What can you do when your spouse or friend looks at you as if you were a stranger? 

The team at NursePartners understands that caring for a loved one with dementia can be incredibly difficult, and it usually comes with its fair share of heartache. However, there are still things that you can do. This article will explore how you can help them remember you.

Strategies for Helping a Relative with Dementia Remember

When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, memory loss and confusion are usually the first signs that something has gone awry. You may observe that your loved one forgets recent events while they have zero problems remembering their wedding day, how they got their first job, or when they skipped school to hang out with friends.

Thankfully, all hope isn’t lost. There are some practical ways you can help your loved one to remember their connection to you:

  • Introduce them to activities or hobbies they enjoyed when you were in the picture. These may include watching their favorite movies, playing songs they love, gardening, or studying a foreign language. And speaking of other languages, check out this video which may give you a glimmer of hope.
  • Hang photos that capture special moments in their lives on the walls throughout the house or in a photo album. Be sure to include ones that show both of you over the years up to the present. In this video, you’ll see just how effective it can be.
  • In some instances, a scent can jog the memory. If they loved a perfume or aftershave you used – resume wearing it around them. If they associate the smell of freshly baked cookies with you, then get into baking mode on some days.

It’s amazing what a little trip down memory lane can do! When you talk about memories that you both share, it can help your loved one feel connected to you. It can also help trigger their memories and help them feel more like themselves. Watch this video to see what we mean.

How NursePartners Can Help

Coping with the heartache of a loved one no longer recognizing you can be challenging, but it is possible. Having a team like NursePartners by your side can make things much more manageable. 

For 20 years NursePartners has been supporting families by providing compassionate and experienced home care to their aging loved ones, including those who live with dementia. Our team comprises the best Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) who serve in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Chester, and Delaware Counties.

We also use The GEMS™: Brain Change Model designed by world-renowned occupational therapist Teepa Snow to help you to connect and care for your loved ones at every stage of dementia. In 2022 we became the first agency in Pennsylvania and the 13th worldwide to be accredited by Dr. Snow’s Positive Approach to Care® (PAC).Contact us today by calling 610.323.9800 for a free consultation.

Are the Effects of Physical Activity Good for Dementia Patients?

Physical Activity

Physical exercise is crucial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and overall well being. Studies have shown that regular physical activity can positively affect brain function and cognitive health, including improved blood flow to the brain and stimulation of brain cell growth.

For patients with dementia, regular exercise is vital for physical fitness and maintaining a sense of purpose, pleasure, and self-confidence. 

At NursePartners, our private nurses are trained in the Teepa Snow Positive Physical Approach to Care™, a specialized approach for caring for individuals with dementia. Our certified nursing assistants provide high-quality care for patients in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Chester, and Delaware Counties.

In this article, we will discuss the effects of physical activity and how it can slow cognitive decline.

What Role Does Physical Activity Play in Reducing the Risk of Dementia?

Dementia is a collection of symptoms related to cognitive decline that can be debilitating. Contrary to popular belief, dementia may not directly result from aging. This means that steps can be taken to decrease the risk of developing dementia. 

New research has shown that a small daily dose of high-intensity exercise may be beneficial. In one study, researchers found that brief periods of physical activity that cause sweating can increase BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) levels. BDNF is a molecule that plays a role in the formation of new neural connections and the survival of brain cells. These findings have piqued the interest of researchers who hope to utilize this protein to improve brain health.

Can Physical Exercise Reduce the Risk of Developing Dementia?

According to the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK, which has analyzed the results of 11 different studies, regular aerobic exercise is one of the most significant lifestyle changes a person can make to reduce the risks of being diagnosed with dementia. (The risk of dementia is reduced by around 30%.)

Even those in their eighties who do physical exercise are less likely to develop dementia. Moreover, a literature review has revealed that studies focused on physical activity and the link with brain function showed less brain shrinkage in older people. It is suggested a cognitive decline in later life is less likely for those who participate in aerobic exercise.

Does Physical Exercise Have Benefits for People With Dementia?

Where patients with dementia are concerned, regular exercise is vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, a sense of purpose, pleasure, and confidence. Socializing, which is often part and parcel of physical activity, is beneficial in that it helps reduce stress and depression, which are commonly experienced by those with dementia.

Improving communication and social skills through exercise improves the patient’s self-esteem and frame of mind and encourages further interaction, reduced isolation, and a sense of wellbeing. 

Physical activity improves sleep, and even in dementia patients, it has proven essential for enhancing memory, slowing mental decline, and maintaining motor skills. Fitter, more flexible patients with dementia are generally able to dress, clean, cook, and get about without too much assistance, making life less difficult for the individual and their carers.

In addition, physical exercise helps caregivers distract and deal with the patient’s more challenging behavior. There is usually less evidence of aggression and wandering.

Aside from the cognitive benefits, exercise can also be beneficial to dementia patients’ overall physical wellbeing:

The benefits of regular physical activity may include:

  • A lowered risk of type-2 diabetes, stroke, and cancers, such as breast and colon cancer.
  • Better heart and blood vessel health which can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
  • Better bone density profile for those who exercise regularly. This means that they’re less likely to suffer from weak, porous bones that might be prone to fracturing, possibly causing disablement.
  • Helps ease constipation 
  • Improved muscle strength and balance, which can help prevent falls

What is Aerobic Exercise?

Different studies have used varying criteria to determine what constitutes physical activity. They generally refer to a sustained 30-60 minutes of aerobic exercise—the kind of brisk exercise that increases the heart rate and makes you breathe more deeply—being done five days a week over at least a year. 

This depends on the individual being well, not experiencing pain, or showing signs of over-exercising.

Don’t worry about how you’ll ever manage ballet or kickboxing lessons after years of sedentary living. The exercise criteria of these studies do not refer only to running or playing a sport but also include less taxing activities such as brisk walking, gardening, and housework.

The daily quota of 30-60 minutes of exercise can be split into 10 or 15-minute sessions of different activities done throughout the day.

Types of Exercise

Although there are numerous activities you can take on, this list comprises a few examples of exercises that virtually anyone can participate in during the early and middle stages of dementia.

  • Walking does not require specialized equipment; it can be done wherever you are, and the distance, time, and gradient can be adapted to suit any ability. Some organizations arrange group walks, which can also become an enjoyable social activity.
  • Seated exercises can be conducted at home or in a group setting. These exercises are less strenuous than exercises done while standing up and are worthwhile for those who sometimes experience dizziness when moving into an upright position. Repetitions can be slowly increased.

Examples of what you can do while seated include: marching, raising heels and toes, bicycling the legs, raising and lowering, or circling the arms, raising opposite arms and legs, and turning the upper body from side to side. You can even dance in a seated position!

  • Dance forms are many and varied, from ballroom to line dancing. This is a social activity and may not seem like exercise, making it a good option as you will be more likely to enjoy dancing than weight training. It reduces stress and builds agility, flexibility, and strength.
  • Gardening is another healthy and enjoyable activity that allows the individual to spend time outdoors in the fresh air. Gardening is recommended for people at any stage of dementia. Tasks may be as simple as weeding, pruning, gathering up piles of cuttings, and depositing them in the barrow or compost heap. Alternatively, mowing and raking are ideal for fitter individuals.
  • Swimming is a good cardio-vascular activity and improves balance. For obvious reasons, it should be conducted under supervision, but water is a soothing medium and the sensation of being immersed in water has a calming effect.
  • Tai chi is a gentle combination of physical movement and meditation which is particularly useful in improving balance, agility, and stability.

What about Exercise for those with Advanced Dementia?

Remaining active reduces the need for constant supervision and adaptations such as stair-lifts. There is no one-size-fits-all to the question of how much activity is needed in advanced dementia since each individual is different. A doctor or physiotherapist can make suggestions on appropriate exercise.

As dementia progresses, activities will need to take into account abilities that have been lost, and activities should not involve new learning. Do the activities at times that suit the patient. If seeing family, do this when they are more receptive. 

If they are restless in the late afternoon, that may be the perfect time to take a walk. Ensure they wear some other form of identification in case they wander off and get lost.

Let them practice entrenched skills at their own pace. These might include watering gardens and sweeping or buttering bread—tasks that make them feel included and useful. 

Patients may have problems with visual perception and coordination. Too much stimulation, crowds, movement, or noise will likely overwhelm the patient, while positive associations with, say, music and dancing, animals, or young children can help them engage. Good lighting, uncluttered surfaces, and simple instructions focusing on one manageable step at a time are ideal.

Ensure they are hydrated and that they wear sunscreen and a hat outdoors. If they become dizzy, faint, or experience pain, consult a doctor.

To find out what exercises might be appropriate in the later stages of dementia, click here.

Nurse Care in Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Delaware Counties

Are you interested in home care services? 

Private nurses are well-trained to offer exceptional nurse care and extend warmth and love to your aging and ailing relatives. They are well-equipped to help your loved ones with their medical and day-to-day needs. 

At NursePartners our private nurses are screened thoroughly for compassion and competence. Contact us today by calling 610-323-9800 for a free consultation.

NursePartners Becomes the First Agency in Pennsylvania to Receive the Positive Approach to Care® Designation 

NursePartners Becomes the First Agency in Pennsylvania to Receive the Positive Approach to Care® Designation NursePartners Becomes the First Agency in Pennsylvania to Receive the Positive Approach to Care® Designation 

NursePartners is pleased to announce that we have been awarded the coveted 

Designated Organization accreditation from Positive Approach to Care® (PAC). 

This makes us the first agency in Pennsylvania and the 13th worldwide to receive this designation. With this accreditation, we are officially aligned with the PAC philosophy and techniques for dementia care.

What is the Positive Approach to Care®?

Teepa Photo Trade Show email size 1 1 NursePartners Becomes the First Agency in Pennsylvania to Receive the Positive Approach to Care® Designation 

Teepa Snow, a world-renowned occupational therapist, founded Positive Approach to Care® (PAC) in 2005, a nationally recognized organization that provides dementia care training, services, and products worldwide.

PAC improves the lives and relationships of people living with brain change by increasing awareness and improving dementia care skills. The aim is to create a supportive, positive environment for those living with dementia by emphasizing what they can still do rather than what they can’t. This is accomplished through appropriate language, approaches, and techniques that allow them to maintain as much freedom and dignity as possible.

Positive Approach to Care® Designated Organization Available in Philadelphia, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties

For 20 years, NursePartners has supported families by providing compassionate and experienced nurse care to their aging loved ones. Our team comprises the best Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) who have been using PAC to help patients living with dementia. We also help healthcare providers solve staffing problems caused by recruitment gaps, vacation coverage, resignations, or unplanned absenteeism.

Our call center is open 24/7 and ready to assist you. Contact us today at 610.323.9800 x 102 during business hours and 610.323.9800 x 108 after hours.

You may also complete our online contact form

Organizations that help with Alzheimer’s Disease and Aging in Philadelphia

Caring for an elderly loved one can be challenging to say the least. It’s even more of a long, stressful and emotional journey if they have Alzheimer’s disease or another type of Dementia. But you’re not alone. According to a 2019 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, 16 million Americans provide unpaid care to loved ones with Dementia. Moreover, you can rely on organizations in Philadelphia that have made it their mission to support the elderly, people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, and caregivers like you.

For 20 years, NursePartners has supported families by providing compassionate and experienced nurse care to their aging loved ones. Our team comprises the best Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) who serve in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Chester, and Delaware Counties. In this article, we highlight organizations in Philadelphia that are committed to helping the cause.

Elder woman being assisted by nurse

What Are Some Organizations That Help With Alzheimer’s Disease?

The following entities offer a variety of support services and resources to patients with Alzheimer’s disease and their families:

Pennsylvania Department of Aging

Since 1978, the Pennsylvania Department of Aging has been serving families in the state by ensuring that their elderly relatives have access to quality care and services that allow them to stay active, independent, and in their homes for as long as possible. 

Covering the commonwealth of 67 counties, they provide services to older Pennsylvania residents. These services include home-delivered and congregate meals, caregiver support, health and wellness services which include care for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of Dementia, personal assistance, senior community centers, Medicare enrollment counseling, transportation, job training, elder abuse prevention, PACE prescription assistance, and more.

The organization also provides local resources that direct you to adult day centers, Area Agencies on Aging, and senior community centers. 

Visit their website to learn more. 

Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA)

As the fourth largest Area Agency on Aging in the country, the PCA provides information about available resources, helps with access to services, and advocates on behalf of older adults and their families. They can provide information about programs and services available to help seniors stay healthy and independent.

Their broad range of services includes:

  • Information and Assistance – They provide information about services and programs for seniors and their caregivers. They also help connect you to the services you need when you call their 24/7 hotline.
  • Caregiver Support – They offer support and training for caregivers.
  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention – Their programs promote healthy aging, Dementia care, and preventing falls and other injuries.
  • Nutrition Services – They offer meals and nutrition education to seniors.
  • Legal Assistance – The PCA also provides free legal services to seniors.
  • Benefits Counseling – They help seniors navigate the complex web of government benefits.
  • Transportation – They provide transportation to seniors who do not have access to public transportation.

Visit their website to learn more. 

Delaware Valley Chapter – Alzheimer’s Association

This chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association serves the greater Philadelphia area and surrounding communities. It is a nonprofit organization providing support and resources for people with Alzheimer’s and their families. The organization offers a variety of programs and services, including education and support groups, care consultation, and financial assistance. The Alzheimer’s Association also advocates for public policy change to improve the lives of people with Alzheimer’s and their families.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia by promoting brain health.

Learn more about their services by visiting their website.

Group of elder in therapy - nurse partners

Dementia Care in Philadelphia, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of Dementia, the team at NursePartners can help. We use The GEMS™: Brain Change Model, designed by world-renowned occupational therapist Teepa Snow to help you to relate to and care for your loved ones at every stage of dementia.Contact us today by calling 610.323.9800 for a free consultation.

What is Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease?

Jill Lattanzio lived a full and active life. She was an avid runner throughout high school and a Division I athlete at Mount St. Mary’s University. Her laugh was infectious, and she was often the first to break into song and dance. She enjoyed visiting her favorite cities, Philadelphia and New York City, with her husband and children and tried to spend as much time as possible on the Jersey shore during the summers. A perfect day for Jill was spent with Matthew and their daughters Lanie and Lilli on their boat, with sunshine on her face and sea air in her lungs.

Sadly, in 2019, Jill was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s at 45 years old. Hers was the youngest Alzheimer’s diagnosis ever observed at Jefferson Hospital, where Jill worked as a Postpartum RN.

Like many families that have experienced the devastating illness, the Lattanzio’s were met with much confusion, heartbreak, and reluctance to accept its effect on their family. Alzheimer’s is a disease with no cure. Each day, families lose more and more of their loved ones.

Jill died at the age of 49 on November 13, 2021, leaving behind her husband and two young kids.

What is Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. It impacts your memory, thought processes, and behavior. It often progresses to the point that it interferes with everyday activities and functions. Although most people with Alzheimer’s are in their 60s and 70s, the illness may develop at any age. 

When Alzheimer’s disease strikes someone under the age of 65, it is referred to as early-onset (or younger-onset) Alzheimer’s disease. The early-onset form of Alzheimer’s disease affects a very small percentage of individuals. When the illness strikes, many of them are in their forties and fifties.

What Causes Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease?

Researchers aren’t certain what triggers Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are suspicions that two proteins cause nerve cell damage and death. Plaques are formed when fragments of one protein, beta-amyloid, accumulate. Twisted fibers of a protein called ‘tau’ are called tangles. 

Plaques and tangles develop in almost everyone as they age. However, people who have Alzheimer’s disease develop many, many more. Initially, these plaques and tangles cause harm to the brain’s memory centers. They gradually influence more parts of the brain. Experts are unsure why some individuals produce so many plaques and tangles, or how they spread and cause damage.

Jill Lattanzio Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease - Nurse Partners

What are the Risks for Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease?

At this time, the only recognized risk factor is a family history of the illness.

What are the Symptoms of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease?

The symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer disease are similar to those of other types of Alzheimer’s disease in most people.

Early Signs and Symptoms:

  • Forgetting important information, especially newly acquired information or key dates
  • Repeatedly requesting the same information
  • Trouble with simple things like paying bills or following a favorite recipe
  • Losing sight of the date or time of year
  • Struggling to make sense of where you are and how you got there
  • Difficulties with depth perception or other vision issues
  • Difficulties joining discussions or finding the correct term for things
  • Misplacing items and being unable to re-track steps to locate them
  • Increasingly poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from work and social situations
  • Mood and personality changes

Later Symptoms Include:

  • Excessive mood swings and behavioral changes
  • Increasing perplexity regarding time, location, and life events
  • Fears about friends, family, or caregivers
  • Difficulties speaking, swallowing, or walking
  • Profound memory loss

How is Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosed?

The current diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease is based on identifying the indications mentioned above of mental decline. A healthcare practitioner will next perform a few tests to identify Alzheimer’s disease.

First, a healthcare professional will inquire about the individual’s medical history before cognitive tests for memory, problem-solving, and other mental abilities. Depending on the findings of the office-based cognitive testing, further testing with a neuropsychologist may be recommended. Urine, blood and spinal fluid may also be tested by the physician and brain imaging tests such as CT and MRI scans. These allow the healthcare professionals to take a closer look at brain tissue to determine the extent of the damage.

Researchers expect that further study on biomarkers will help researchers to identify the condition more quickly. Biomarkers are proteins or other indicators found in the body that accurately signal the progression of a disease.

How is Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Treated?

There is presently no cure for early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Nevertheless, healthcare providers have been effective in assisting patients in maintaining their mental function, controlling behavior, and slowing disease progression.

Medicines are utilized to assist individuals in maintaining their mental function. They are as follows:

  • Donepezil
  • Rivastigmine
  • Galantamine
  • Memantine

The results have been mixed, but some medications seem to assist patients with their symptoms for a few months to a few years.

Physical activity, cardiovascular and diabetic medicines, antioxidants, and cognitive training are other treatments that may help delay the progression of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Many studies are now underway in this area, and researchers are discovering new things about Alzheimer’s disease daily.

Can Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease be Prevented?

The prevention of Alzheimer’s disease remains unclear. Some data has shown that detecting the condition early might result in better treatment choices. It’s essential to keep an eye out for any of the following early warning symptoms and consult your physician right away if you detect any.

Facing Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease

Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease can be a challenging condition to deal with. Having a positive attitude and keeping as busy and cognitively engaged as possible is important.

It’s also crucial to remember that you are not alone. Don’t be scared to seek a support group if you believe it may be beneficial or rely on your friends and relatives as much as possible.

It’s essential to consider the future while the disease is still in its early stages. This can involve financial planning, collaborating with employers on existing and possible employment obligations, clarifying health insurance coverage, and gathering essential documents in case your health worsens.

Although there is no treatment for Alzheimer’s, you may make the most of a poor situation by keeping your body and mind as healthy as possible. This might involve eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol use, and adopting stress-reduction strategies.

Nurse Care in Philadelphia, Montgomery and Delaware


We understand these are difficult times, and it can be even more trying for our loved ones experiencing memory disorders.

NursePartners creates care teams to introduce stability into the lives of older adults. All teams are managed by a certified dementia practitioner and registered nurse. Care is provided right at home or wherever home may be. 

Want to know more about Alzheimer’s disease or how we can help you? 

Give us a call today at 610-323-9800. We are all in this together.

Differences Between an Agency Nurse and a Staff Nurse

Registered nurses, licensed practice nurses, and certified nursing assistants can choose to work at facilities or on private duty cases through an agency.  When they work on-site for a company, they are responsible for 10+ residents simultaneously.  Alternatively, when they work at NursePartners, they can provide individualized care for older adults, unless they are contracted by a facility to fill in for staffing shortages on site.

According to a 2015 study it is estimated that there are over 2 million Americans who are home-bound. Is your loved among this group? NursePartners can help. We are a licensed home care agency that provides individualized and top-quality care for our clients. In this article, we highlight the differences between an agency nurse and a staff nurse so you can decide on the right care for your family member.

What is the Role of an Agency Nurse?

An agency nurse is a temporary healthcare professional who works on a contractual basis for home health agencies and other medical organizations. They provide the same services as regular full-time nurses however, they work on an as-needed basis rather than being permanently employed by a hospital, clinic or other healthcare facilities.

a nurse with an older patient

What is the Role of a Staff Nurse?

This is a full-time medical professional who works in a healthcare setting or facility. They work alongside members of the healthcare team to treat and manage patients’ conditions across age groups. Their responsibilities are usually outlined by their employer.

Agency Nurse vs Staff Nurse: What are the Differences?

An agency nurse and a staff nurse may perform many of the same tasks and require the same education and training, however, there are key differences between the two, such as:

Quality of Patient Care

While both agency and staff nurses can competently perform their duties and extend care, it is much easier for an agency nurse to provide individualized care to your loved one at home than for a staff nurse at a hospital who has to tend to a number of patients during their shifts. If there’s an unbalanced nurse-to-patient ratio it can lead to patients being neglected and becoming disgruntled. Moreover, it can cause further deterioration of patients’  health. 

When your loved one is under the care of an agency nurse, they are a top priority. The agency nurse will consider their concerns and preferences while taking the time to connect with them.

Work Setting

You will have to factor in location when you and your loved one are trying to determine what type of nurse is suitable. Staff nurses tend to their patients in a variety of healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. Agency nurses also work in these settings, however, they are afforded more flexibility which allows them to also work in patients’ homes. They travel for work, so they may work at several locations for a short amount of time. In comparison, staff nurses consistently work at one location.


Nurses can specialize in anything.  At NursePartners, all staff shows a demonstrated working history in geriatric care.  We want to pair older adults with nurses who understand the complexities of aging, as well as some associated chronic and progressive diseases.  Private clients and facilities get the benefit of this experience when working with NursePartners.  


The nursing management at clinics and other healthcare facilities will determine the schedules every week with a set number of hours for their staff nurses. In comparison, agency nurses have the freedom to set their own schedules. 

Agency Nurses Available in Philadelphia, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties

Are you considering hiring an agency nurse to take care of your loved one at home? At NursePartners we will work with you to devise a comprehensive care plan for your relative. They of course will be treated with respect, consideration, and kindness. We also help healthcare providers to solve their staffing problems when members of their full-time staff are unable to perform their duties. Contact us today by calling 610.323.9800 for a free consultation. You may also complete our online contact form.

How Do Caregivers Deal with a Patient Who Refuses to Bathe?

How Do Caregivers Deal with a Patient Who Refuses to Bathe?

Being a family caregiver for an older adult is a selfless act of kindness, love and loyalty. Such a noble role, however, can prove challenging, especially for those who were not trained as professional caregivers. We are reminded of this on difficult days, such as when our elderly relative refuses help with bathing.

Many seniors refuse to bathe due to the onset of dementia, concerns about safety in the tub, a lack of interest, arthritis, or other issues. Bathing is an important part of personal hygiene, and we must make sure this need is met, even if that requires us to change our approach.  Private nurses and professional caregivers are trained to do just that.. Here are some of their tactics:

Home Care Services for Your Loved One - Nurse Partners

Use Negotiation Skills

Even though the older adult requires care, we must be careful to respect their dignity.  They have lived long and fulfilling lives and do not appreciate taking instructions as if they were children again.  In brief, this means that they do not like being told what to do. Private nurses and professional caregivers take the time to connect before providing care. This might mean preparing a favorite meal or taking them to see a friend after bath time. 

Speak Favorably About Bath Time

Trained and experienced carepartners understand your loved one’s mindset and frame bath time as a positive experience rather than a chore. For instance, they may use the words, “pampering” or “relaxing” in reference to bathing. They may even use nicely scented soaps to encourage your relative to relax while taking care to warm a towel for use before getting out.

In addition, private nurses are more compassionate and sensitive to patients who may be embarrassed by body odors and soiled clothing. This in turn helps the elderly patient to feel at ease. 

Professionals rely heavily on positive reinforcement in their work. Elders, just like everybody else, love compliments. A private nurse will be quick to point out how good a senior smells after taking a bath, compliment them on their choice of clean clothes, and so on.

Make it a Gradual Process

Sprinkler faucetA full shower or bath may be intimidating for some elders. Maybe your loved one falls into this category. A private nurse could break down the task into stages to make it easier. They may begin with simply asking to wipe off your loved one’s face. If they are receptive then the private nurse will gradually move to gently clean their underarms and other parts of the body, all while engaging them in conversation. 

The private nurse will stop once your loved one becomes resistant. They know that your relative may eventually warm up to the idea of a full bath or shower.

Having the Know-How

Some seniors may not like the idea of getting a bath from a stranger.  This is why it is important to build your care team early.  Trust takes time to develop.  After establishing a routine, older adults become comfortable with assistance, even when it requires help bathing. 

Nurse Care in Philadelphia, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties

Nurse Partners' LogoGetting your aging loved ones to take a bath can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. Fortunately, you have access to professional help. At NursePartners our private nurses are experienced in helping your loved ones to maintain proper personal hygiene while helping them to keep their dignity intact. They are also trained to assist your loved ones with their medical needs. 

Contact us today by calling 610.323.9800 for a free consultation.

Why Should You Consider Home Care Services for Your Loved One?

Home Care Services for Your Loved One - Nurse Partner

Your parents and other elderly loved ones may be among the 77% of older Americans who prefer to age in place instead of residing at a nursing home or an assisted living facility. As they age you may find it necessary to get professional help, especially if your loved ones are experiencing Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. With the help of a private nurse you can rest assured that your loved ones are in good hands.

For 20 years NursePartners has been supporting families by providing compassionate and experienced nurse care to their aging loved ones. Our team comprises the best Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) who serve in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Chester, and Delaware Counties. In this article we will discuss the benefits of hiring a private nurse to care for the seniors in your family.

What is the Role of a Home Care?

A private nurse is a nurturing professional who provides one-on-one medical care in the comfort of the patient’s own home. They can offer advanced care, working in tandem with you and the rest of the family. 

What are Some of the Benefits of Receiving Care at Home?

Your loved one will be able to enjoy some level of autonomy while receiving at-home nurse care that include medical and personal benefits.

Medical Benefits

Depending on their level of education and certification, a private nurse typically can perform several medically related tasks including:

  • Monitoring your relative’s medical status and keeping detailed records for overseeing physicians. This includes blood pressure and blood sugar checks.
  • Performing Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Alerting you, other caregivers and primary physicians of any changes in your loved one’s physical and/or emotional symptoms.
  • Administering medications 
  • Providing traumatic injury and wound care 

Personal Benefits

In addition to providing medical care, you can rely on a private nurse to cater to other needs your relative may have such as:

  • Home exercise programs
  • Companionship
  • Mobility assistance
  • Meal preparation
  • Bathing, grooming, and hygiene
  • Transferring and positioning
  • Diet monitoring
  • Toileting and incontinence care
  • Light housekeeping
  • Running errands and shopping
  • Medication reminders
  • Transportation

Home Care Services for Your Loved One - Nurse Partners

Is Your Loved One Experiencing Dementia or Cognitive Decline? 

Some private nurses are specially trained to help the elderly with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, which may be another bonus. Ask prospective private nurses about their experience with cognitive decline, and be upfront about your loved one’s dementia behaviors. 

At NursePartners, our private nurses (or carepartners) have been trained to use the Teepa Snow Positive Physical Approach to Care™ to care for those affected by dementia. This method allows patients and caregivers to have more positive and meaningful days. Get in touch with us to learn more about how we use this approach while caring for your elderly relatives.

Are You Interested in Home Care Services?

Private nurses are well-trained to not only offer exceptional nurse care but also to extend warmth and love to your aging and ailing relatives. At NursePartners our private nurses are properly screened for compassion and competence.  They are equipped to assist your loved ones with their medical and day-to-day needs. Contact us today by calling 610-323-.9800 for a free consultation.

Carole receives the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccination

Our Clinical Specialist, Carole Derr, BSN, receives her first COVID-19 vaccination in an auditorium last week.  She has been working tirelessly since March, enforcing our protocols hands on, including visiting your clients at their personal homes and apartments at facilities.  The first round of vaccinations continues to be administered to those in Tier 1A, including nurses.

Carole vaccination Carole receives the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccination

Tier 1A includes others outside of nurses and other types of frontline workers.  The Pennsylvania Department of Health lists the details on their website, including a map with sites for vaccinations.  This information can be assessed here: COVID-19 Vaccine (

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