Understanding Alzheimer's Disease
The Adult Home Health Care Difference
Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease is important because Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most devastating and costly brain diseases today. What is Alzheimer’s Disease? What are the causes? And how can we help a loved one with this disease?
Alzheimer’s disease was first noticed in 1906 by Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who, while studying the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness, noticed abnormal lumps and bundles of fibers in her brain. Ever since, scientists have made great strides in understanding the symptoms, causes, and potential treatments for the disease. Today, Alzheimer’s disease is estimated to rank as the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer and is the leading cause of dementia in older adults.
Early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include memory problems, problems with word-finding, vision/spatial issues, impaired reasoning or judgment and confusion. Later on, changes in personality and behavior become apparent and can lead to depression, social withdrawal, mood swings, distrust in others and delusions.
Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease starts with understanding that symptoms will vary from person to person. Genetics, comorbidities (multiple coexisting medical conditions), environment and lifestyle all play a factor in the progression of the disease. Due to the nature of the disease, no one case is exactly like the other.
Understanding Alzheimer's Stages
Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease Progression: Alzheimer’s disease progresses through several stages, as damage to the brain increases. The progression of the disease can be generalized into three categories: Mild, Moderate and Severe.
Mild Alzheimer’s and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) are the first stages of the disease, where difficulty with memory and other cognitive dissonance becomes apparent. Symptoms include getting lost easily, difficulty finding objects and difficulty completing routine tasks.
Moderate Alzheimer’s occurs when enough damage has been caused to the brain to impair sensory and speech functions. Patients exhibit severe memory loss, including not being able to recognize family and friends. Patients at this stage also exhibit paranoia, delusions or hallucinations.
Severe Alzheimer’s is the final stage of the disease. At this point, the damage to the brain has advanced to the point where the patient is unable to care for themselves, depending completely on others for their well-being. Communication becomes extremely difficult to impossible.
An important note is the distinction between Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Dementia is not a specific disease; instead, it describes a group or set of symptoms that cause affect memory, sensory, and social abilities to the point where a person needs assistance. While some causes are reversible, Dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease is non-curable. Syndromes such as Sundowner’s syndrome, in which a person experiences memory loss, confusion, and mood-swings at dusk, are forms of dementia. Not all people with Alzheimer’s disease exhibit Sundowner’s syndrome and not all cases of Sundowner’s syndrome are caused by dementia.
Caring for Some One with Alzheimer’s
The most important thing to keep in mind when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease is that, while there is currently no cure, treatments can temporarily slow the worsening of the symptoms and drastically improve the quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.
The most important part of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s is adapting to the situation. Creating and strengthening routine habits, minimizing memory demanding tasks, and keeping regular appointments are imperative in helping a person with Alzheimer’s cope with the disease. Exercise, nutrition, and the use of certain drugs may also improve the quality of life for those clients with the disease.
Adult Home Health Care Difference
The staff at Adult Home Health Care is extremely knowledgeable and dedicated to ensuring a great outcome for your loved ones. To this end, emphasis is put on creating a strong client-caregiver relationship, so that a routine and healthy pace of life can be established.
No matter at what stage of Alzheimer’s disease, our caregivers will utilize tried and proven techniques to help your loved one engage in their daily activities, create a positive personal routine, and ensure the needs of the family, client and medical requirements described by your health-care professional are exceeded.
Our Adult Home Health Care team will create a safe environment while engaging with your loved one in activities they enjoy. Don’t go it alone, we are here to help you understanding Alzheimer’s disease and navigate this difficult and challenging disease.