Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19
As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at Highland Ridge Hospital to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at Highland Ridge Hospital.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • We are offering visitation through telehealth services so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services are being vetted and may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit

Signs, Effects & Symptoms of Dementia

Understanding the Signs of Dementia

Understanding the signs of dementia

Dementia is not one single disorder, but instead refers to a collection of symptoms that includes the progressive loss of mental functions such as memory, thinking, and reasoning abilities. The decline in mental functioning associated with dementia is so severe that it impacts an individual’s ability to function on a daily basis. Many men and women who have dementia lose control of their behaviors and emotions, develop personality changes, and have a diminished ability to solve problems. Certain forms of dementia may be treatable, but in most cases there is no cure.

Dementia occurs when parts of the brain that are involved in memory, decision-making, learning, and language are affected by one or more infections, diseases, or injuries to the brain. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, however up to fifty other types of dementia have been identified. Since some forms of dementia can be partially treated or managed, it is important to seek prompt treatment from a physician who specializes in dementia. Earlier detection will allow for a greater likelihood that an individual will have success in managing their dementia.

Dementia was once considered to be a normal part of aging. Today we know that while some age-related benign memory loss is normal, dementia is not normal. Dementia should never be considered a normal part of the aging process. With proper care, effective medications, and prompt treatment, people who have dementia can lead longer and more fulfilled lives.


Statistics for dementia

It’s estimated that 35.6 million people worldwide are currently living with dementia. That number will double by 2030 and more than triple by 2050. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia in people aged 65 and older and affects 5.2 million people in the United States. One in every 3 senior adults will die from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Vascular dementia is the second most common cause for dementia, accounting for nearly 20% of all cases of dementia.

Causes & Risk Factors

Causes & risk factors for dementia

All types of dementia are the result of the death of nerve cells and/or the loss of communication among these cells. There are a great number of causes for dementia and while some of them are reversible, many are not. While researchers are currently investigating the causes for dementia, we’re still lacking full information about all the factors that can lead to the development of the disorder. Some of the most well-known causes include:

Genetic: Research indicates that dementia runs in families, and having a family history of dementia will put you at a greater risk for developing dementia. Other genetic causes include Alzheimer’s disorder, Huntington’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

Physical: There is a variety of biological reasons that can cause an individual to develop dementia. Cardiovascular problems can lead to vascular dementia due to lack of oxygen supply to the brain cells. Nutritional deficiencies and hormone imbalances have also been known to cause dementia. Additional biological reasons include Lewy-body dementia, hypoxia, frontotemporal dementia, and brain tumors.

Environmental: Certain environmental factors and life circumstances can lead to the development of dementia, such as traumatic brain injuries, HIV, poisoning, adverse medical reactions, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Risk Factors:

  • Increasing age
  • Being female
  • Heart disease and atherosclerosis
  • History of drug or alcohol use
  • Prior smoker
  • Down syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Mild cognitive impairment

Symptoms of dementia

The symptoms of dementia are different depending on individual circumstances, such as genetic makeup, type of dementia, and the length of time an individual has been dealing with the dementia. The further along an individual is in the stages of dementia, the worse the symptoms become. Some of the more common symptoms of dementia can include the following, broken down into stages:

Early Dementia:

  • Memory loss is usually the earliest and most easily recognized symptom of dementia
  • Decline in personal appearance
  • Difficulty finding the right words
  • Trouble remembering recent events or recognizing places and people
  • Difficulties planning and carrying out tasks
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Agitation
  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Challenges controlling moods and behaviors.
  • Challenges in judgment – such as being unable to react if there is an emergency
  • Decreased ability to care for oneself
  • Personality changes

Intermediate Dementia:

  • Worsening of symptoms of early dementia
  • Abnormal moods
  • Inability to learn new information
  • Increasing disorientation even in familiar environments
  • Hallucinations
  • Requiring help to complete everyday tasks
  • Confabulation – strongly-held belief that a person has done something he or she has not
  • Inability to pay attention
  • Depression
  • Changes in sleep patterns

Severe Dementia:

  • Worsening of symptoms of early and intermediate dementia
  • May be unable to walk without assistance
  • Impaired movements
  • Inability to swallow
  • Complete dependence upon caregivers
  • Loss of short-term and long-term memory
  • Complications from symptoms: incontinence, malnutrition, bedsores

Effects dementia can have

The long term effects of dementia will vary among those diagnosed with dementia based upon the type of dementia, stage of the disease, and other existing medical disorders. Some of the most common effects of dementia may include:

  • Personal safety challenges
  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Emotional health deterioration
  • Increased infections
  • Falls
  • Challenges taking medications
  • Difficulties communicating
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • Sleep problems
  • Reduction of personal hygiene
  • Inadequate nutrition
Co-Occurring Disorders

Dementia & co-occurring disorders

There are a number of additional disorders that may co-occur with dementia. Some of these disorders may include:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Alcohol and substance abuse
  • Depressive disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Vascular disease

Highland Ridge helped our family understand how to manage our dad's dementia, and we are so much stronger now.

– Josh J.